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Self-Editing Vs Professional Editing: Can't I Just Use Grammarly?

Since 2007, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing has allowed aspiring and passionate writers to publish their books in digital format independently. Successful Kindle publishers have built their writing careers through this platform. If you’re reading this article, you are either interested in self-publishing or currently working as an independent author.

Traditionally, if a publishing house contracts with a writer, they will assign an editor from their staff to work directly with the author to edit the manuscript before it goes to publication. One of the most challenging aspects of self-publishing is that you will be responsible for making sure your work is edited. 

There are two ways to approach this challenge:

  • Self-edit 
  • Hire an external editor

Self-Editing vs Professional Editors

In this article we will be reviewing one of the most popular and comprehensive self-editing tools, Grammarly, but before we even get into the review part, a word of warning: most people involved in the self-publishing industry are very much against self-editing. 

The main reason for this aversion is that self-publishing often gets a bad rep because anyone can publish anything. Now that is actually the great thing about self-publishing too, but it doesn't help to set standards. 

The reading audience, in general, is discerning. They will pick up your grammar and spelling errors and they will think poorly of you for it. They may even leave poor reviews as a result. 

Social media self-publishing groups are littered with comments by novice self-publishers claiming "No one can edit my book the way I can," or "My readers won't care about spelling mistakes, it adds to the character of the book."

No. No it really doesn't. 

What it does do is make your readers aware that you are not committed to producing a quality product - one that they spent money on - which does not instill much faith in you as an author, or a businessperson. 

editing

Even though there are amazing tools like Grammarly to help you along the way, editing is about much more than spelling and grammar. A professional editor can help you to better structure your book, point out small inconsistencies that you may have missed, and so much more.  

Since we are pretty much advocating not self-editing, in this article it will be presented as a first draft option. By using tools like Grammarly, you will make your final editing process easier and quicker. 

Self-Editing Tools 

There are tools available to help you write and edit your next bestseller. One of them is Grammarly.

We will explore the features, cost, and advantages of using the online grammar-checking service.

And most importantly, we’ll discuss if you, a Kindle publisher, can benefit from using Grammarly?  

To better understand how Grammarly works, here’s an informational video from the company

Editing tips

What is Grammarly?

Grammarly is a writing and editing tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect spelling and grammar mistakes. Not only that, its AI-powered algorithm also checks users’ punctuation, formality and vocabulary, among other things, to help them create clear and concise sentences.

You can use it for business, personal, and academic purposes. Grammarly is compatible with email and messaging apps, online documents, and social media platforms.

Grammarly offers a free browser extension for Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer Edge, and Mozilla Firefox. This version allows you to use the tool online. At the same time, it also offers a paid premium product with exclusive features that will further help you in writing and editing your books. 

Currently, Grammarly is used by millions of writers and licensed by more than 600 universities and corporations. It helps both native and non-native English speakers to improve their language and writing skills. 

What Are Grammarly’s Features?

Aside from the free browser extension, you can also access the Grammarly Handbook and blog for free. The Grammarly Handbook is an online guide where you can learn all about grammar, punctuation, writing mechanics, writing techniques, and writing styles. It can help you build a stronger foundation as a professional writer. Think about it as your basic toolbox—it contains enough tools for you to complete a project.

Meanwhile, the Grammarly blog is an online resource where you can find relevant writing and grammar tips, currents trends, and inspiration from other writers. It covers a lot of topics that Kindle publishers such as yourself should have knowledgeable of. 

For the premium product, you can access more advanced features that the free version doesn’t have. This is where you’ll find the power tools. See the table below for reference:

Features

Free

Premium

Grammar and spelling checks

Conciseness

Readability

Essay Genre Adaptation

Vocabulary improvement suggestions

Plagiarism checks*

*Grammarly Premium uses more than 16 million web pages to detect plagiarism.

Table source: Grammarly Features 

Aside from those mentioned above, Grammarly Premium also includes the following features:

  • Microsoft Word and Outlook integration,
  • Windows and MacOS desktop app,
  • Weekly performance statistics sent to your email
  • A personal editor via the Grammarly website
  • Document access on multiple devices
  • Synonyms, definitions, and grammar explanations
  • Sentence structure enhancement
  • Source citation
  • A personal dictionary.

According to Grammarly, 76% of premium customers enjoy writing more, 99% have better writing grades, and 85% become stronger writers than those who use the free version.

Grammarly for Kindle publishers seem like an appealing idea because of these features and customer survey results. However, before you jump in and make a commitment to Grammarly Premium, continue reading this article to find out how much it costs and whether the pros outweigh the cons.

How is Grammarly used?

To use the free version of Grammarly, you need to install the web browser extension by following these three easy steps:

  1. Go to the Grammarly homepage and click the “Add to Chrome It’s free” button if you’re using this web browser.  
  2. You will be redirected to the Chrome Web Store where you need to click the “Add to Chrome” button.
  3. A pop-up message will be prompted. Click “Add extension” to give Grammarly access.

Voila! You can now use Grammarly online. It will automatically detect writing errors when you use your email, social media accounts, and other websites via Chrome. You can also create an account for the online Grammarly app or download the native desktop app for Windows and Mac OS. Through these apps, you can directly create, upload or copy-paste documents to edit.

For Grammarly Premium, you’ll need to select a plan to unlock the exclusive features. You can pay via accepted credit and debit cards, prepaid cards, and PayPal. Once you’ve purchased the product, the premium features will be available to you.

 Money

How much does Grammarly cost?

As I mentioned earlier, Grammarly’s browser extension is free. But if you want to access its more advanced features, you need to pay for premium.

  • Premium Plan: $11.66 monthly 
  • Business Plan: $ 12.50 monthly 

Grammarly Review: Pros and Cons

Every product has positive and negative aspects to it. In this section of the review, you will learn about the pros and cons of Grammarly so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should use it as a Kindle publisher.

Grammarly Review: Pros

Let’s start with the pros. When you use Grammarly, you will have real-time checks on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. As a self-publishing author, you can save you a lot of time when you use this tool. You won’t need to read and reread what you’ve written to see if you’ve made any mistakes. Grammarly will point them out to you instantly like a proofreader and editor are working with you as you write.

In addition, Grammarly’s explanation for corrections is easy to understand. So not only are you able to edit and proofread in real-time—you also get an instant language lesson whenever you make an error and you’re not sure why.

Lastly, have you ever had a problem with MS Word’s spelling and grammar checker when it will flag a phrase that you know is not a mistake? MS Word does not take context and genre into consideration when flagging “errors.” On the other hand, thanks to Grammarly’s powerful AI technology, it is highly accurate. You can even add words and phrases (like slang and vernacular) to your dictionary so that Grammarly won’t flag them in the future.

Grammarly Review: Cons

The most notable downside to Grammarly is that its free version is very limited. For Kindle publishers like yourself, you need the premium version to access important features such as the plagiarism checker.

Professional human editors we have spoken to have also indicated that Grammarly is not 100% accurate with its punctuation suggestions. 

The price can also be a disadvantage for some people, especially if you’re just starting to build a career as a writer. If you can’t pay for premium, you’re stuck with the free version. 

Here’s a summary of the main pros and cons of Grammarly:

Pros

Cons

Real-time checks

Limited free version

Easy to understand language lessons

Limited compatibility

Highly accurate

Pricey

Table Source: Grammarly Features

Hiring a Professional Editor 

Now let's get the elephant in the room out of the way. We fully understand that when you are just starting out, there is not much of a budget to work with. This is one of the main reasons that new self-publishers often end up self-editing and producing sub-standard work. 

Keep in mind, though, that your book is going to take a good while to write (or you could just use a ghostwriter - we're just putting it out there). If you get quotes for editing before you even start writing, by the time you are ready to send your literary baby out into the world, you could have saved up the money you need for an editor. 

Here at The Urban Writers, our editing and proofreading package currently costs $0.90 per 100 words. If your book is 30,000 words long, editing and proofreading would cost $270.00. 

If it takes you six months to write your book and you start saving from day one, you would only need to save $45.00 per month to be able to afford a professional editor and proofreader when your book is finished. Doable right? 

professional editor

How To Select an Editor  

Choosing an editor can be another pitfall because there are a lot of less than ethical people out there. 

Ideally try getting referrals from other self-published authors. Failing that, don't be afraid to ask for the editor's qualifications and experience. In fact, any professional editor would offer that information upfront. 

It would be a real shame to lose all your hard-saved money on a person that calls themselves an editor, but actually just runs your work through an online grammar checker. Don't laugh, it happens!

It is always preferable to use a reputable company like The Urban Writers as all the grudge work is already done for you. We have selected and tested a range of professional editors so that you don't have to! 

Final Notes

Publishing a book is exciting and there is no doubt that you want to get that project out there in the readers' hands ASAP. This should never be a reason to skimp on editing, though, as you will definitely be sorry. 

Even if this is your first book, you are creating a brand for yourself in the mind of your reading public and you definitely want that first impression to be the best it can be!

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