No one would dream of intentionally publishing a work riddled with grammar and punctuation issues. Yet, the cost of professional editing can make it seem impossible to ever get your piece out there for the world to see. Even at the bargain rate of .03 per word, having a 1,000 word short story would cost you $30, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize that most paying markets for shorts pay you far less than that for the rights to publish your piece. So, how does a writer submit polished work while keeping publishing profitable? Here are three affordable ways to get your story edited.
Reach out to Your High School English Teacher
Alternately, reach out to that person in your social media network that is always correcting everyone else’s grammar. Often times, people who are excellent at spotting such errors would appreciate doing so to help out a friend, and, as a bonus, to get access to your short story before it is published.
Let him or her know you have completed a short story, and you would appreciate it if they would look it over for any glaring grammatical or punctuation errors. Make certain to include in your request, in a complimentary way, the reason you thought specifically of them for this task.
“Dear Mr. Clark, your College Prep writing course is probably the reason I write today. I was wondering…”
“Hi, Rita, I’ve noticed you have a really good eye for catching grammatical errors…”
Remember that you are asking for a favor, and that this person’s time is valuable. You should say (and mean it!) that you will understand if they are not able to take on such a project at this time. Be sure your request includes a reasonable deadline – you don’t want to rush the volunteer, but you also don’t want your story to end up in a perpetual “to do” list.
Swap With A Buddy
Perhaps there is another author in your writing group that you trust can give your piece a good, solid once over with “the red pen.” You could ask him or her to look at your work, and promise to return the favor.
“But, wait a minute,” you say. “If I was any good at editing, I’d be satisfied with my own edits of my work!”
Fair enough. But, is it possible you could return the favor to your fellow writer in some other way? Perhaps you could offer to Beta read a future project. Perhaps you are able to design a cover for him or her. Perhaps you’d be willing to dedicate one or more hours to plotting and brainstorming their work with them over coffee.
Whatever arrangement you make, you will want to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Be clear about what level of work you are committing to do in advance. You would not, for example, want to exchange an edit of your short piece in exchange for editing someone else’s 100k word novel.
Don’t have a writing group or writing buddy yet? Look around your social media and see if you can’t find a like-minded group of folks from which to cultivate such a relationship. The 10 minute Novelist facebook group, for example, posts a “find a buddy” thread once a week for making just this sort of connection.
Of the three Affordable Ways to get your story edited, this is my least favorite suggestion. While self-proclaimed editors advertise super cheap rates for editing on platforms like Fiverr and upwork, Why? Well, mostly because it has been the experience of those in my circle that, when it comes to editing, you often get what you pay for. Inexpensive editing work sourced by freelance sites such as Fiverr or Upwork may be a good deal if you can sift through all the bad ones to find the gems among them. If you have a friend who can recommend someone they’ve used with success, you’re golden.
There you have it – three affordable ways to get your story edited. Have you thought of one I’ve missed? Drop it in the comments below.