Red Pen Day

Today, for the first time, I’m printing off a hard copy of the book I’ve been working on this last year. I may even have it bound, just to make me feel more like a real author, as opposed to a pretend one. It’s been through four self edits already and a raft of chapters are currently out for review with my loyal core of beta readers. My research though has indicated that it’s beneficial to sit down and edit a hard copy of the manuscript. So that’s what I’m doing.

Apparently you pick up errors and inconsistencies via this form of editing that you would never detect if you were poring over a laptop screen. It should also help me identify plot gaps and continuity issues. I’ve been through it with a fine tooth comb four times now, but I understand there is still much work to be done. In expectation of this, I have several red pens on standby, raring to go.

One of my beta readers, Meredith, edits my drafts with a purple pen, as it’s a more soothing and less aggressive colour. But I’m a traditionalist so I’m sticking with angry red. I will be like a grumpy teacher marking homework, except it will be my own. Hopefully by the end of it, it won’t have become too much of a literary bloodbath. I’m not keen on the sight of the red stuff, least of all my own.

Speaking of bloodbaths, I’m currently sourcing the services of a professional editor to carry out a line-by-line edit of the manuscript. Grammar, punctuation, structure, plot, the whole ten yards. Yesterday I was quoted $3600 dollars for a 300 page manuscript, way beyond my humble budget. All the advice I’m reading though is that a professional edit is advised, before considering approaching agents and/or publishers.

Several of you have already kindly offered support and advice in this area. Does anyone know of any friendly copy editors out there who would be willing to provide a more reasonable rate for such services? Or am I being naive and that’s the going rate nowadays? I’m no cheapskate but we are a single salary family and these hatchlings are a bottomless money pit.

53 thoughts on “Red Pen Day

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  1. Sending it to your Kindle is a good way to read it differently too – and you don’t have to pay for paper. If you don’t have a kindle you can still download the Kindle reader to your phone or tablet (or your computer, but that seems a bit pointless… You want to relax on the sofa with something that seems like a book).
    To sent to your Kindle account, email the Word file to your Kindle email address with the subject line ‘convert’ (without the inverted commas). I use Word so I can’t tell you which other files it converts, but probably most of them
    I try to edit both ways… I pick up different errors on the Kindle from the errors I see on paper.

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  2. I print constantly & use a red pen all the time. I honestly miss my typewriter for that immediacy of write & see what you’ve written on page on real paper! But gee … I haven’t had a real typewriter since the mid-1980’s. Man, I feel old LOL

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  3. $12/page seems high. A quick Google search indicates that $4/page for copy editing or $7.50 a page for content editing is more normal. I can’t afford either for the drafts of my 550-page textbook (which has a lot of technical material, so would probably be priced even higher).

    I’ve been relying on my own checking (not the most robust technique) and paying students in my class 25¢ for the first report of any error. I got about 100 typos reported last year, plus a small number of more substantive errors. I’m thinking of increasing the reward for more substantive errors to $1 each. The amount of money involved is trivial, both for me and the students, but it helps get them to read more closely and offers them a chance to feel superior to the professor.

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  4. My friend wrote a book about his cycling adventurers he plans to spend around 600 GBP on a structural editor. That sounds different than a copywriter but I will ask him if he has any advice.

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  5. How exciting… Sounds VERY pricey though. I have no expertise to offer but interested to hear what others are saying just in case I get my act together and get going on my wannabe book too! 🙂

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      1. There’s a fictional story that’s been simmering away for years with a first draft about half way written but I got stuck… lost inspiration perhaps! Will get back to it at some point I hope. Now however my thoughts are around recovery and a non-fiction effort. Not sure…. What about you?

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  6. Try posting on pages like Upwork or Freelancer. You can be as specific as you need and search through the bios and portfolios of people on there. The sites do charge a fee and you’ll get garbage applications with the good ones.

    I am also part of a FB group of talented women who seek writing and editing jobs (yep, I’m a lurker since I don’t fit any of those criteria -except being a woman). If it’s a legitimate job, send me the info and I’ll post.

    I also also still need a copy of this elusive book. Chelseaowenswrites@gmail.com.

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  7. That price seems way to high. https://www.fiverr.com/ has a lot to offer on publication, editing, book covers, and more. I have not run my book through them yet, (not finished), But I did inquire with them and was given a rough quote of 650.00 US dollars for150 pages or about 65,000 words. I talked with ggrammargal. It cost nothing to make an account and ask questions.. Good luck and let us know what happens?

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