By Val Breit
When you’ve set out on your journey to becoming an author, you might be surprised at just how much it costs to publish a book.
You want to create the best book you can, but you don’t want to spend thousands in the process. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can cut costs and still hire a quality editor.
Editing can easily be one of the most expensive parts of publishing. And as an editor, I often get requests from authors who have a small budget. Therefore, I thought it’d be helpful to share with writers several things they can do to get quality editing without spending so much money.
1. Save Money on Copyediting and Proofreading with Grammarly
Lighter levels of editing are copyediting and proofreading.
These are the types of editing most people think of when they hear the word editing.
It includes things like finding typos, following grammar rules, correcting punctuation, and keeping consistency throughout the work.
To get cheaper quotes for copyediting and proofreading, use free tools like the well-known Grammarly online checker or perhaps Ginger Grammar to check your grammar, misused words, and spelling errors before an editor looks at it.
Personally, I use and have been happy with Grammarly as an online grammar checker.
While Grammarly is certainly not good enough to replace a human editor, it does find many errors. The more errors you find yourself, the fewer an editor will have to find.
Many editors will ask to see a sample of your writing before giving you a quote. If they see your email and sample is littered with typos on even basic words, they are either going to decline your project or charge you a lot for their time.
A cool thing about Grammarly is if you use the browser extension, which is available in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge browsers, Grammarly will even catch errors in your emails too.
Sending an error-free email is another easy way to get a cheaper quote for editing.
2. Save Money on Content Editing with Hemingway
Content editing is also sometimes called substantive editing, which is a heavier level of editing. Typically, the heavier the type of editing your book needs, the more of an investment it will be.
This is because it often requires more effort and time for an editor than proofreading for typos.
One free tool you can use before sending your book to a content editor is the Hemingway Editor. This is a free online editing software where you can copy and paste your writing.
Hemingway will then highlight areas of concern for you to look at and improve.
Some of the things the Hemingway Editor flags for you are complex sentences, use of adverbs, and where you use a passive voice.
Although the Hemingway Editor does not fix the writing issues for you, it will highlight the areas that could use improving and tell you why.
For example, when you use adverbs and qualifiers like perhaps, Hemingway highlights these in blue and encourages you to be bold by omitting qualifiers and using stronger verbs to make your writing stronger.
If your writing is full of very complex and hard-to-read sentences, you can keep revising them until all the red highlights are gone.
Hemingway also gives your writing an overall readability score. If your target audience is mid
With clearer writing, the content editor you hire later can spend less time revising your complex sentences for you and spend more time on the things Hemingway doesn’t catch, or you cannot edit yourself.
3. Use Beta Readers for Feedback
Similar to a ‘beta’ version of software or apps, beta readers are people who read your book before you publish it.
You can utilize beta readers to test out your book before revealing it to the rest of the world.
Beta readers can be anyone who has an interest in your book topic or genre.
It can be family and friends, people from your email list, or avid readers you find in Facebook groups or on book sites Goodreads.
Using beta readers is a win-win situation. The readers love getting to a book for free and helping you with your writing process by sharing their opinion with you.
As the author, you win because you essentially test your book with just a sample of your target audience and learn ways to improve.
You’ll get the best results from beta readers if you give them direction of what type of feedback you are looking for.
If you want big-picture feedback on the plot or storyline, tell them that before giving them your book to read.
If you’re comfortable with the overall content, but you’re looking for grammar errors and misspellings, let your readers know that.
There are so many things you can ‘edit’ a book for, without giving readers direction, you’ll end up with a massive amount of jumbled information and likely feel overwhelmed.
With good direction from you, using beta readers can be another way for you to improve your book before sending it to an editor.
4. Save Money on All Editing with ProWritingAid
Finally, I saved my favorite editing software for last. ProWritingAid, which is a tool that improves both your writing style as well as catching misused and misspelled words.
With the free version, you can copy and paste your books, blog posts, or even important emails into the online editor.
It will give you tons of information and data about your writing style. Maybe even more than you care to know.
ProWritingAid can be brutally honest.
For example, when I uploaded this lengthy how-to blog post for women who are pregnant and need money fast into the editing tool, I found out my readability was good, at about a 6th-grade reading level, but I had quite a few “sticky sentences” with unnecessary filler words.
This tool will even point out for you places you ‘tell’ and prompts you to ‘show’ the reader instead.
Like Hemingway, it alerts you to adverbs and passive voice. I also learned in this post that I started 6 sentences with I. If it was a 500-word post, I’d probably change those, but for a 4,500-word post, that’s not too bad.
Conciseness is one of my writing weaknesses, and ProWritingAid recognized that in just a few seconds. With all of the reports, data, and suggestions, it helps me become a better writer (and editor).
I’m sure there are many ways it could help you improve your writing too. It’s surprising how much value it offers writers for a free tool.
ProWritingAid will also tell you things like:
Which words do you use the most?
Do your sentence lengths vary?
Are there grammar issues?
Did you use clichés?
Are there any difficult-to-read paragraphs?
Are there any spelling issues?
If you give honest effort and time using the free information ProWritingAid gives you about your writing, you can drastically improve your writing yourself before sending your manuscript to an editor.
When you’re trying to get cheap proofreading and editing without sacrificing quality, you’ll want to do several rounds of editing first.
Use the tips from all 3 of these editing tools and the feedback from beta readers to polish your book the best you can. The less time it takes an editor to improve your book, the less money it will cost you.
Val Breit is a stay-at-home mom by day and a serial online entrepreneur by night, running both TheCommonCentsClub.com and KeepCalmWriteOn.com. She’s a money guru and word nerd at heart. As an author, editor, speaker, and blogger, she loves figuring out how to turn writing into multiple streams of income and showing others how to live their dreams without going broke. See what tips she has for you in her Facebook Group or on Pinterest.