top of page

Why Authors Don’t Pay for Editing

The Truth Behind the Editing Wall

Have you written a manuscript, looked it over yourself, or given it to a close friend, or family member to check for errors? Let me guess. They said something along the lines of “This is great work! You’ll go so far!” then handed it back to you with a bright and assuring smile. Am I close?

You probably thought that was the best feeling ever and then immediately ran to publish it on Amazon KDP so you could make millions but didn’t get one sale from a person who wasn’t in your close circle. Or you ran to send it to an agent only to be ignored or turned down. Right?

Most authors have the same experience and usually after some time, they get frustrated with their lack of success and quit. There are different reasons why that is. One main reason is a lack of professional editing on their project.

You may be thinking “Why would I need to be edited when I can edit my book,” and you wouldn’t be alone. The truth is, many authors think the exact same thing, and here’s why:

Editing Cost

Professional services such as proofreading, editing, and book design can be expensive. Many authors, especially self-published ones, operate under tight budgets and may find these costs prohibitive. The expenses can be particularly daunting for debut authors or those who do not yet have a proven track record of sales.

Perceived Value

Some authors may not fully appreciate the value that professional editing, proofreading, and design can add to a book. They might believe that their self-editing is sufficient or underestimate the impact that professional services can have on a book's readability, credibility, and overall marketability.

Control and Personal Attachment

Authors often feel a strong personal attachment to their work and may be reluctant to let others alter their text. This can lead to resistance to substantive editing, where significant changes might be suggested to improve the flow, structure, or style of the book.

Lack of Awareness

Especially among new authors, there might be a lack of awareness about the process and benefits of professional editing and design. Some might not know where to find reliable services, what the going rates are, or how to evaluate the quality of potential editors and designers.

DIY Culture

With the rise of self-publishing platforms, there's a growing trend among authors to do everything themselves. This DIY approach can be driven by a desire for full creative control, a sense of personal achievement, or simply to keep costs down. Resources and tools available online can sometimes encourage authors to skip professional services.

Uncertain Return on Investment

Investing in professional editing and design does not guarantee that the book will sell well. This uncertainty about the return on investment can make authors hesitant to spend money upfront, particularly if they are self-publishing and unsure about the potential success of their book.

Alternatives and Trade-offs

Authors might decide to rely on beta readers, writing groups, or software tools for feedback and corrections rather than invest in professional services. While these can be helpful, they rarely match the quality assurance that professional editors and designers provide.


To mitigate these concerns, you need to be educated about the tangible benefits of professional editing, proofreading, and design. You should invest in these services because they will significantly enhance the quality and marketability of your book. Additionally, exploring various pricing options, seeking referrals from other authors, and considering different service levels can help you find a balance that suits your needs and budget.


If you find this article helpful, gain access to Black Maverick Publishing’s Newsletter so you can make educated decisions when pursuing publishing. Later, writers!


How much did you enjoy this article?

  • A lot

  • Somewhat

  • Not much

  • Not at all


bottom of page