I’ve talked about red flags in publishing and I’ll continue to do so because predatory people and companies prey on those who haven’t had the opportunity to learn what they need to in the industry, but it’s also important to know that not all flags we see are red.

We have to be vigilant, but we can’t be too vigilant that we ignore, or undervalue real opportunities or real information that comes across our paths.

Not A Red Flag

For example: when submitting to a publisher – especially a smaller one, it’s not uncommon for them to tell authors that while they’re interested in their manuscript, they won’t invest the money to have it professionally edited. They will tell authors they can find their own editor, or they’ll suggest one – maybe it’s someone on their payroll, or maybe it’s someone they’ve worked with in the past. This is not a red flag. Small publishing companies just don’t have the budget a larger house does. They simply do not have the same kind of resources. Gone are the days where a traditional publisher will do it all for you. Authors have to invest in their work if they want someone else to do the same.

The Cost of Editing

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“But Kim,” you say, “I can’t afford an editor and that’s why I’m seeking traditional publishing.” You are not the first person to say this. I empathise and I understand, but you can’t avoid editing. You definitely can’t avoid it if it’s the one thing that’s keeping you from being published traditionally! Ask any editor you’re considering if they’ll do a payment plan. Explain to them you have a budget. A lot of editors are authors too. We understand the struggle. We are human. If you can’t afford one editor, that doesn’t mean you can’t afford them all.

As with any service, there’s a reason editors charge what they do. They have experience. They know what they’re doing; they know what to look for. An editor who is “expensive” is not a red flag. Ask for a sample before agreeing to anything. You may have found an editor within your budget, but if they don’t do your manuscript justice, you’re wasting that money.

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I know maneuvering the publication journey is daunting. I’m happy to help with any questions you have. We can have a friendly, non-sales call at any time. My goal is the same as your goal: for you to have your book in front of your audience.