The Value (and Limits) of Self-Editing: Part 2

Previously I shared the editing process I came up with for my own indie published books. That process includes extensive self-editing, a professional editor, and objective beta readers. Let's continue to look at the self-editing side of editing your books. I consider self-editing a necessity. But it's not the be all and end all. It's just one part of the process. There are ups and downs. Let's take a look at a few.

The Benefits of Self-Editing

  1. Self-editing makes you look at your work more objectively than when you first drafted it.
  2. When you self-edit your books you have the opportunity to make big changes before paying a professional editor.
  3. I find that self-editing makes me feel more invested in a project. The more time that goes into it, the harder I'm going to work to make it a success.
  4. Knowing you plan a few rounds of self-edits gives you more freedom and flexibility when writing your first draft. For example, I know I can add something with a note to research it later if it wasn't in my original plan. Or I can write free-flow without concerning myself with spelling and grammar until I get to the editing process.

The Risks of Self-Editing

  1. Self-editing a manuscript can give you a false sense of completion. There's the potential "good enough" mentality.
  2. Self-editing can encourage a "me me me" mindset where we do what we want and what we think is right or best without any input from those who might know better (and therefore be able to help us improve our craft).
  3. It's easy to miss things in the self-editing process because our brains know what we meant to say even if it's not what's really on the page.

I'm sure those are far from the only benefits and risks of self-editing for indie authors. What does your editing process look like? How does it vary based on the type of project? What are some of the other high and low points of self-editing? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.


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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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