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Avoiding Bad Reviews

Hello friends,

I’m excited that award-winning author & experienced editor (and also my editor) Christina Kaye has agreed to write another guest post for my blog.

Thanks, Christina!

Avoiding Bad Reviews by Christina Kaye

“Not a bad story, but the editing is virtually non-existent!”

“It was a struggle to get through this book.”

“Editing was poor…grammar, spelling, and punctuation was so bad I could not get past page 5!” 

“It felt like I was reading a first draft of a book written by a middle school student!” 

These are a few sentences pulled from actual reviews left for real, published books on Amazon. They are painful to read, to be sure, and I feel badly for the authors who got these reviews. However, they could have easily been avoided. None of these reviews mentioned bad plot, character development, etc. They all referenced the lack of editing specifically. 

No one…I don’t care how proficient a writer you think you are…can self-edit and catch every mistake. Hell, even editors miss some things when working on your books. The commonly accepted industry standard is that we’ll miss about 5% of your mistakes, no matter how thorough and meticulous we try to be in our work. 

That’s why my advice to all authors, especially new ones, is to find an editor BEFORE you even think about self-publishing. I know, I know. Editors can be expensive and not everyone has $500 – $1,000 lying around to invest in their book. But keep in mind,  you get what you pay for. By seeking out bargain basement prices for editing services, you risk hiring some random person who just up and decided to be an editor one day, rather than an experienced, educated editor with the right background and the credentials to warrant their rates. Not to mention, nowadays, many editors (including myself) offer and accept payment plans for their fees.  True, you’re still paying that “high” amount, but keep in mind the risk versus reward payoff. 

Risk – if you do not hire an editor, you might possibly wind up with reviews such as those listed at the top of this post. Sure, you may sell a few books here and there to friends and family who support you and your dreams, but once reviews like this are posted, especially when it’s more than one, you will see that your sales suffer.

Reward – if, however, you invest in a quality, professional editor, yes, you have put up some money in the beginning, but the odds that you will get much better reviews and thereby higher sales and more royalties increase exponentially.  You are investing in your book and though nothing is guaranteed in life, you certainly stand a much better chance of succeeding with a professionally edited, polished book.

Once you have found a brilliant editor, my advice is to go through the MS one last time before you turn it over. Why? Isn’t that like cleaning the house before the maid comes over? True. But I can’t tell you how many books I’ve edited that are in such poor shape, I wind up basically ghostwriting rather than editing. Going over the book one last time before turning it over will help you and your editor. Keep in mind, a lot of editors (including me) will charge less the better shape the book is in. So, you could potentially help yourself by simply taking a few hours to go through it one last time. 

So save yourself some embarrassment and do your book a favor…hire an editor before you publish your book and while I cannot guarantee your book will be a best-seller, I can guarantee you will be more likely to avoid these kinds of negative reviews and you may even see that your sales and royalties are much higher than they would have been had you not hired one.

For anyone interested in learning more about how to find the right editor, how to work with an editor, or what to expect during the editing process, please reach out to me via email. You’re never bothering me. I’m here to help.

And anyone interested in speaking to me about my editing services offered, rates, payment plans, or reading testimonials, please visit my website at www.xtinakayebooks.com and reach out to me ASAP as my schedule books out usually 2 months in advance.

Thanks and good luck!

Talk soon.

Christina Kaye

11 thoughts on “Avoiding Bad Reviews

  1. I can’t say how many books I was asked to read and had to put them down – and the author told me there were no problems. Being an indie author does not excuse you from the professionalism of being a writer. Rather, it increases that expectation in my eyes. My time is valuable and is part of the reason I have had to decline many offers to review books. If you do not value editing then you do not value your own work or the readers investing time and money into your project. This is the mark of an amateur.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats for the guest post. Indeed editing plays a crucial part in writing. I am by no mean a writer even then I had my husband proof read my posts for me as with his computer engineering he has a degree in communications as well. Nice post though. It’s great to hire someone else for your great work. I agree When you do any of your work, you really see what you want to see not what’s there. I sometimes read wrong spelling perfectly right…lol But Alice I am not a writer though..Stay blessed and stay connected.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you posted this. I’ve been wanting to write a blog for awhile now about how sometimes I’m destined for failure in the writing world because I simply cannot afford these kinds of services. I’m not trying to deny the importance of said services, and I totally agree with the “you get what you pay for” sentiment, but I simply do not have enough money to pay even the most affordable of editors, cover designers, etc.
    I work two jobs and my husband works a ton of overtime. We aren’t starving and our bills are paid, but any time we want to go on vacation or have a date night, it takes planning and saving. If we needed a car or home repair in the neighborhood of $500 – $1000, we’d have to pool our resources to try to figure out how to pay for it – savings account, credit card, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to justify spending the same amount of money on my writing considering you never know the return you’re going to get. Obviously I can pinch pennies and save if I really want/need these services (once my novel is “ready”), but it can be very depressing to realize you have to struggle and fight for the basic requirements of being a writer.
    If anybody out there is a writer who has been in my shoes, any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely understand Stacy. I’m still in the red on my books after paying for editing and cover art. And I still don’t have the budget I need for good marketing. I know it’s going to take time to crawl out of the hole. What’s even more disappointing, is building a launch team who will read and review your book and then more than 3/4 of them failing to do so. It’s very frustrating and makes it hard to figure out why I even bother. Instead of spending money on any more books, I’m going to keep posting chapters and poetry for free and hope to build and audience. *Sigh*

      Like

      1. Ugh, yes, I totally feel you in the review team. I’ve not had any luck with beta readers and it’s making my job as a writer even harder. I try to stay positive but sometimes it’s so hard when you don’t have any money to spend in order to make it.
        Still, I’ve learned a lot over the last few years and have made significant progress with networking so not all is lost. Baby steps I guess.
        Good luck to you. Let’s keep on keeping on!

        Liked by 1 person

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