For the Final Editing of a Draft Book, Hire a Professional

Tip#7In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

For the self-published author, one of the biggest challenges is not to look self-published. A big giveaway that you wrote and published your own book is an unprofessional format and appearance. Books, especially in print form, have their own particular look, and it is almost impossible for an amateur, self-publishing author to get this look right on his or her own. The best way to ensure your book looks like a book is to hire a professional editor for the final editing phase.

In their book, APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur): How to Publish a Book, Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch explain some final editing options that are available. There are two basic types of book editors: content editors go through and evaluate the book’s content, especially as it appeals to the target audience, while copy editors go through the formatting and ensure it matches with the Chicago Manual of Style, the “bible” for publishing. As Kawasaki and Welch also point out, if you enlist beta readers to get feedback on your draft, you may not need a content editor, but regardless of how diligent you have been in editing and revising, you will want a copy editor to go through your manuscript. There are too many formatting nuances for the amateur author to catch all the mistakes—and there will be mistakes—probably hundreds of them that the copy editor will find.

You can find copy editors for hire in many places. As traditional publishers have downsized, many copy editors now freelance or have their own companies. Many self-publishing and hybrid publishing firms offer author services, including copy editing. I used CreateSpace’s copy editing service on my first book, and I was happy with the result. There are many options, so look into them and determine what is best for your students. If money is an issue, consider having your students do a fundraiser to pay for the copy editing. Fees vary, but plan on approximately $500 for the professional copy editing of a 100-page book. Some editors charge by the word, others by the hour, so compare several estimates. The money will be well spent, and it is the only expense that the self-publishing author should not avoid.

Next week, my post will have a tip on how to self-publish and release a book.

Subscribe to this blog at to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.


Author: bryanholmesstem

Physics and Math Teacher, STEM Competition Mentor - starting at Thomaston High School, CT, in fall 2018.

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