Several weeks ago, I felt myself slipping into melancholia. It’s my nature and I accept that, but I try not to give into it for long. This time, reading what I shouldn’t triggered my dark mood. I’d read a couple of blog posts that made ol’ low-confidence me want to remove my books from the market and disappear from the virtual world.
One of those posts advised indie writers not to subject readers to garbage work—and I agree with that. The problem was that they defined garbage work as any writing that hasn’t been professionally edited. The bottom line: if you can’t afford to hire a professional editor you don’t have the right to publish.
The other post advised publishing only professionally edited writing—with this stipulation: if you do have the audacity to publish work not professionally edited, you must make it permanently free. After all, how dare you expect someone to pay for what is undoubtedly garbage!
I hung my head.
I hadn’t hired a professional editor for my first two books, but I didn’t have the heart to take them completely off the market. They’re exclusive with Amazon, for the time being, so I couldn’t make them permanently free, but I considered lowering the ebook prices to 99-cents and withdrawing the print version.
For a while, I was sad, sad, sad.
And then I said, “Hold on. Who says?”
Unfortunately, I didn’t save the posts, but if I recall correctly, someone affiliated with traditional publishing wrote one of them, and a professional editor wrote the other. So, yeah, consider the source.
No matter how much self-confidence I lack, no matter how hard my perfectionist nature judges my writing, this I know: my writing is not garbage!
For reasons I’ve stated before, I don’t think traditional publishing is for me, so having access to a professional editor that way is out.
The other option is to spend my entire month’s income to hire a freelance professional editor. Unfortunately, I’m too fond of running water, electricity, and food to make that sacrifice.
So I won’t be hiring a professional editor for my next book—unless I find one willing to volunteer their services in exchange for a testimonial or a money miracle occurs (not holding my breath for either.)
Instead, as before, I’ll write, edit, revise, seek feedback from capable writer friends whose writing is strong where mine is weak, and then edit and revise again, as many times as it takes to assure the result won’t be garbage.
I guarantee: My books won’t change the world or likely ever bear the New York Times Best Seller banner or may not suit your particular reading taste, but they’ll never be garbage.
10 thoughts on “Garbage writing?”
I am glad you came to the ‘who cares’ stage. It amuses me when people decide to give expert advice on writing, well maybe not amuse but… You do what’s right for you and I guarantee it will be loved!
Thanks for the comment, Chris. 🙂 I hope someday the “who cares” stage sticks permanently, but I’m pleased at the progress I’ve made in the last several months.
I think people just get really intense about “professional editing” because the alternative is often an unedited, rambling mess. But there are also a huge range of books in-between that were edited by just the author and are perfectly decent. Paying for editing is only necessary if you aren’t good at editing — and you, madam, are clearly quite accomplished at the task!
Thank you so much for the praise, Michelle! 🙂 And I hope I didn’t give the impression that I’m against professional editing. We all need editors, so if you can afford to hire a professional one, why not avail yourself of that service? Just make sure your professional has the credentials and satisfied clients.
Oh, definitely! If you can get a professional involved, why not? But if it’s not an option, that doesn’t mean the book is trash — just that you didn’t pay someone to do the editing 🙂
Your books are not garbage, they are well written and well edited. I would have never known you had not had them professionally edited. We don’t make enough money on our books to pay someone to edit them. Like you, I rely on others who are stronger in certain areas to edit my work for me in exchange for assisting them. in other areas. I have read best sellers with many mistakes! So there.
Best sellers with typos, Darlene? Ha ha, yes, it’s true and getting worse since the Big 5 have been shaken by the Indie movement and cut costs. In one book by a famous horror author, I found several, including a misspelling of the MC’s name!
Your books are NOT garbage, you’re right. I love your writing, Linda. I hire a professional editor, mainly because I’ve seen what she does for my work and I’d never dare publish anything that hasn’t gone through her or someone on her level. Every time I hand her something, I think, “Oh, there’s not much for her to do with it because I’m getting so much better,” but then what she does do always amazes me, and it’s still very much mine in the end, which is why she’s so good. Editing is definitely an art form, just like the writing, and I’d save my pennies for a whole year in order to hire my editor instead of publishing without her. She’s a part of my creative process, but that’s ME. Not you. Every writer is so, so different. I think these people who say you must hire an editor are taking themselves too seriously. Everyone has a choice. It’s ART. And it’s YOUR ART. And you have the freedom to do with it as you like (and what you’ve done with it so far has been beautiful). Nobody has the right to diminish your choices and your creativity. Some artists decide to edit their work, and some don’t. There’s no rule here.
It’s so easy to let ourselves drown in the opinions of others. It makes me sad, and I’m even sadder to hear you’ve been down in the dumps about your own writing. I want to give you a big hug.
Thank you for the virtual hug, Michelle. 🙂 And I’ll return your hug because I know you fall prey to writing/publishing sadness, too.
Sometimes I have editor envy, but only because I wonder if my books would sell better. Then again, my books don’t have any reviews citing poor editing, so I believe it’s lack of exposure that’s my real problem. I’ll just keep writing and maybe someday …