Friday, June 15, 2012

Editor or no Editor… Does it affect your sales?

I’m sure you wade around the online stores to see if you can find something new to read. Nothing beats the surprise if discovering something no one told you about.

You’re probably a thrifty shopper. Who isn’t in this day and age? You check out what other buyers say. You see that a book has many 3-5 star ratings/reviews. But you also see that it has a couple of 1-2 stars. I always check them out and they seem to have a common complaint. These comments hide underneath a tsunami of praise.

“This book could benefit from editing or an editor.”

(Yes it does sound like a sales pitch)

Then there’re books with low ratings from 1-2 stars with negative comments. You will find the above quote there too. But people still chuck out .99 cents and keep the sales rating up.

So what does this tell us? Will a novel fail without an editor?

Well, based on the fact that the remainder book business is booming, I would say no. All those bargain books from B&N or are professionally edited. They just didn’t sell out within the allotted time and the publisher had to unload the copies to make space in the warehouse.

But remainders are not failures. No no. Success is all around since the writer got paid their advance and the publisher was able to make back a little money, which is good because they won’t see any money after that.

So what does the above scenario mean?

You have your theory, but here’s mine. It means that the writer knows how to tell an entertaining story and knows how to connect with their audience. They are so good at it that the reader can forgive the few flaws in the text. The same flaws that scream out to those 1-2 star raters/reviewers that

“This story needs an editor.”

Those writers, who received a majority of 1-2 star reviews, could use some education, not an editor.
Editors are people in the book business that try to help make the story stronger and presentable. They make suggestions. It’s up to the writer to sit down and see if those suggestions are valid to their vision of the story.

A properly trained writer who can study their work in an objective way and who has clocked a million words under his belt should know a thing or two about crafting a story. They have to know how to self-edit. It’s their job!

A writer can disregard the suggestions. They can stick to their guns and say that they’re right. In the end, they could be. Or they could not. If they’re not right, then with luck they will learn from their mistakes. But hey, we are in the digital age and that means experimenting is a norm. Our face should slap the floor a few times.

So the lesson: A writer has to be a good crafter which includes being a good self-editor. No one else can make the story great but him or her. It’s possible. Plenty can do it. But plenty can’t proofread.

That is another post.

(NOTE: In no way does this post endorse the extinction of editors. Having a second, third, and forth pair of eyes for your work is vital. This post does suggest that there is more than one-way to skin a cat.)

Guest posted by: Michael Purfield
Guest website:
Guest Bio: M.E Purfield was raised in the Jersey 'burbs. At 18 he moved to Jersey City to attend The School of Visual Arts film program in NYC. He has never returned to the 'burbs. Since then he's done some script work for low low low budget films and even directed a few shorts.

Before publishing novels, he has toiled around with many short stories in many genres at many venues until he decided his strengths lie with Young Adult fiction. He wrote three contemporary novels jesus freakz + buddha punx, Breaking Fellini, and Delicate Cutters (due out in 2012). Now he focuses on Noir Fantasy, a genre that brings together hardboiled prose, anti heroes, crime, and dark fantasy.

When not practicing the art of Potty Mouth, he spends his time raising his son, being married, watching horror films, and listening to punk music.



What a great topic! Editors seem to be really important, nice post :)

Nic Bast

Thanks Alex, glad you liked the post. Hope it helped out a bit.

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