Uncertainty Strikes Once More

One of the successful self-published writers I rather admire told me recently that there should be ‘something’ between writing and self-publishing. Either I should submit queries to agents and publishers and qualify my own self-publishing on their responses (especially if it is not accepted simply because of the ‘market’, not because it’s not well-written or an engaging story), or I should pay a professional manuscript assessment service to read my manuscript and give feedback. The reason being to give myself something to fall back on if I get a bad review: if an industry professional likes it, that’s a comfort that you’re not a complete failure.

But as an low-budget writer, I simply cannot afford to have my manuscripts professionally edited. I’ve just looked at a few different services for both the US and Australia. One person is charging $400, another is charging $1000.

WTF? I know it’d be valuable, but at this point in time I just can’t afford it. So once again, do I need to have money to make money?!

Should I not even try to self-publish before having an industry professional look over my manuscripts, and how is this going to hurt my potential success?

Should I really take what this successful self-printer has said (bearing in mind she’s sold 5000 hard copies)?


4 thoughts on “Uncertainty Strikes Once More

  1. bruceblake says:

    It’s a tough decision, isn’t it? I’ve decided to go the route of having a prifessional editor look at my novel (to the tune of about $2000), but there are other options. Do you have any friends who are writers? Maybe you can get them to vet your manuscript. Also, J.A. Konrath talks in his blog about how self-publishing electronically gives the reader the opportunity to vet your manuscript. The nice thing if your going doen the e-publisihing road rather than priniting a bunch of hard copies is that you can always upload a newer, more polished version any time you want.


    • Lissa says:

      I do have friends who are writers, but they have either been taught a different style from me, or not taught at all. While I have the benefit of a tertiary education in Australia, an American writer friend of mine who had a look at my work kept pointing out all my ‘typos’. They weren’t typos, they were the Australian way of spelling things, not the American way.


  2. Charlotte says:

    Hard choices. Lately I’ve been tearing my hair out a little over all the sage advice on publishing, self-publishing and writing that’s floating around. There’s so much of it and it can send a person spinning in circles.

    A recurring theme at the moment seems to be ‘all the things you MUST do before publishing your novel.’ A lot of it has sense, but a lot of it’s pretty dogmatic too. Like, I’m supposed to feel that I should write at least three novels which will be thrown in the bin before I ever think of publishing one. I can see how that’s a good idea if the first novel you write is more or less the first piece of fiction you’ve ever written, but what about other circumstances? A lot of it is – understandably enough – ‘what worked for me is a good idea for you’, but it’s without context.

    My conclusion has to be that it’s all to be taken with a pinch of salt, because there’s no single way to get it right. The sensible rule, I think, is simply to do the absolute best you can – utilise every resource you can get access to – and then get on with it when you feel ready. If I take everybody’s advice on the things I MUST do, I’ll be spending the next several decades throwing my work away while I strive to become completely perfect.


    • Lissa says:

      Of course you’re right. Dadewalker is technically the first book I ever wrote, but I’ve been writing for years. I’m actually beginning to feel it might be ready (after my pre-emptive failure at the ABNA).
      I need a sane voice like yours to keep me on track, Charlotte. Thank you.


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