In traditional publishing, an author should have their manuscript critiqued, beta read, and professionally edited before sending it to their agent.
The agent offers editing. The agent sells the manuscript to a publisher, which would also have an editor.
So a book that is traditionally published has a stamp of approval from at least three editors (sometimes more than that).
Readers can trust these to be quality products.
The indie-author community needs to focus on putting out better products.
In order to compete against traditionally published books, indie authors must hire professionals to work with them on creating the best book possible.
Here is what I recommend to an indie author:
After you write and revise a manuscript, find a critique partner!
Starting out, I swapped my picture book manuscripts with dozens of other writers through a Facebook group called “KidLit411 Manuscript Swa
Over time, I have found the four or five critique partners who I trust the most.
Once you’ve had it critiqued and made revisions, hire an editor!
Ask for developmental editing. A good editor will have an eye for how to really enhance the story.
They will explain how you can improve your story arc, the tone of the story, how to create better scenes, and more.
If you make significant changes, send it back to your critique partner or hire your editor for a second round of developmental editing.
When your story is solid, have another round with your trusted critique partner(s) or look for “fresh eyes” in a beta reader.
Now is the time to have the story line edited. This is the final check through for grammar, punctuation, syntax and minor inconsistencies.
If you’re hiring an illustrator, I suggest you wait to start illustrations until the manuscript is ready for line editing.
A change to the manuscript text is easy, but changes to illustrations will cost you.
Create a relationship with your editor.
Editors want our clients to succeed, especially the loyal clients that we know well. I offer my picture book clients a free once-over before publishing, because I don’t want to see any avoidable mistakes getting published.
If you write in poetry, I suggest having your manuscript checked over by a poetry specialist.
I offer “poetry coaching” for clients who feel compelled to write in rhyme, but haven’t been trained in writing in meter.
I use the client’s own manuscript to teach them how the meter could sound. This is a very effective teaching method and my clients have great success learning to write in meter.”