Cost-Effective Editing

On foot of last week’s post about why self published authors need editors, I thought I’d wield a blunt instrument and tackle the single biggest obstacle to hiring an editor – cost. There’s no getting away from it. If you want your book edited to a high standard, there’s a considerable cost involved. You’re paying for an editor’s time and their expertise.

But the good news is that there are ways of cutting down the cost without compromising on quality.

  1. Get a Proofread

Proofreaders differ from editors in that their sole job is to clear spelling and grammar errors. This is less time consuming than full copy editing, where the editor is eliminating inconsistencies, checking facts and restructuring copy. A proofread will still give your book a professional appearance.

  1. Get Structural Advice

Critiquing services have sprung up which evaluate a small ample of writing and give advice. They’re a good option if you’ve finished your book, but don’t feel quite satisfied with it. You can apply the advice they give you to your book as a whole and this gives you the power to change your book for the better and maintain the integrity of the story while it’s still in development. You’ll only be charged for the sample of writing you sent.

  1. Write a Short Book

This may sound glib, but self published books tend to be shorter than traditional books, particularly those created for the e-book market. And if an editor has fewer pages to edit, the cost will be lighter on your pocket. So realistically, most self published authors will not have to spend the huge sums they envisage.

Now it’s time for the gratuitous plug. Here’s a link to the editing services I provide, which fit the models I’ve described. Good luck.

Why Self Published Writers Need Editors

Are you interested in self publishing a book, or have you self published already? Are you fed up with not being taken seriously by the literati? One of the ways of ensuring that your book competes with the top titles produced by traditional publishing houses is to hire an editor.

Editors take care of your book.
Editors take care of your book.





A lot of writers balk at hiring an editor, because of the cost, or because they feel they’re able to edit the manuscript themselves. But here are three reasons why it’s worth it.

  1. Editors Make Your Book Readable

Poor punctuation and clunky sentences may seem like minor bugbears, but they can make your book unreadable. You’ve put a lot of hard work into your book and you deserve a book that reflects that work. An editor will get rid of grammar glitches,  separate giant clumps of text and streamline your sentences, so that your story is easy for your readers to absorb.

  1. Editors Cut Your Book Down to Size

A lot of authors become so engrossed in their idea that they over-write and end up with a story that becomes too big for them. Editors can see what needs to be cut to bring a book down to a manageable size. And don’t worry – they wield a scalpel rather than a wrecking ball. You’d be surprised at how reducing repetitions and eliminating adjectives can help a story to shrink.

  1. Editors Give You Perspective

You’re enthusiastic about your story – and rightly so. But it’s impossible for anyone to be objective about their own work. Editors have a thorough knowledge of the mechanics of story. They can help you order your thoughts and ensure that the text flows in a way that makes sense. They can also give you structural advice so that you can make changes to a story yourself.

Have you hired an editor or proofreader? Did you find it worthwhile – or not?

The Manglification of the English Language

A few weeks ago, I heard a member of the Irish Arts Council say that her organisation was “FOI-able,” meaning that it was possible to look up Arts Council documentation under the Freedom of information Act. When I heard it, I shuddered.

On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with the phrase. It’s not grammatically incorrect. It saves you having to say a full sentence. The problem is, it rings false. It’s strangulated, robbed of real meaning or context.  It interrupts the flow of the language. It’s an example of how people shoehorn the English language in an attempt to sound smart and current. In other words, they put the language through a mangle.

Plastic letters - words that ring false.

Plastic letters – words that ring false.



Here are three more examples of words that mangle the English language in different ways.

1. Stickability

A comedian was heckled for using this word during a routine. Someone shouted up, ‘There’s already a word for that, it’s persistence.’ A word like “stickability” is a classic attempt to reinvent the wheel. In fact, it’s an over simplification. Words like persistence, perseverance and tenacity have a rich context behind them, of striving and overcoming.

2. “Doing” a country

When people recount their adventures in long haul travel, they like to make themselves sound like Genghis Khan. They talk about “doing Thailand” “doing the temples” and even “doing Europe.” Aside from the delusion this gives that they’ve conquered pastures new, it sounds as if they’re ticking off a list. Words like “visit” and “see” show that you’ve taken in and appreciated the places where you’ve been to.

3. Impact (as a verb)

People being interviewed on a radio love to convert nouns into verbs. I imagine this gives them the sensation that they’re current or happening. Instead, they sound a little false. “Impact” is one of the most common examples of this, as in “This impacts hugely on the community.” Ironically, this robs the word of its emotional weight. Changing it back into a noun conveys the idea of a deep effect more accurately.

Have you got any example of what I like to call “mangletronic” words, words that sound all right on the surface, but ring false?

Why Charities Need to Tell Stories

I went to a Christmas concert in a church in Waterford. full of glorious carols. There was no fee, but people were encouraged to donate to a charity, a daycare centre for children with special needs. During the interval, a representative of the centre spoke to us about the centre’s work.

The total collected that night was €2,600. But how much more might the charity have collected if he had told a story about using the centre had changed a child’s life.

Another massive charity campaign took place in Waterford in December. Local people will be familiar with the appeal to send two young boys, Ryan and Ethan, to America for treatment for a progressive, fatal disease.

Their story was told  through pictures. .

Ryan and Ethan's story wins hearts. Pic taken from Save Ryan and Ethan Facebook Page.
Ryan and Ethan’s story wins hearts. Pic taken from Save Ryan and Ethan Facebook Page.

With such a powerful story behind them, it was little wonder that almost all the fundraising events in the boys’ home town of Tramore were dedicated to them.Why Tell Your Story

Charities are competing for a smaller and smaller pot of money. When you tell the stories of people who benefit from your charity, people will feel the full impact of the work that you do and they’ll connect with that story. It also takes the ‘begging bowl’ aspect out of fundraising. When people see where their money goes, they’ll dig deep.

Your service users may be happy to give back to you by sharing the story of how they benefitted from your service. You can make their story the centre of a media campaign. Your local newspaper and radio station is a great place to start – people still love to hear stories of local heroism. And social media might as well have been built for charities. You can reach the very people who will benefit from your charity, through pictures, videos and words.

To hear more of Ryan and Ethan’s story, visit their website