Your Guide to Editing for Self-Publishers│The Urban Writers

The Ultimate Guidelines for Self-Publishers’ Editing Needs

by The Urban Writers

One of the reasons self-publishing has become so popular is because traditional publishing takes away a lot of the control from the actual publisher; that is, the writer or owner of the manuscript.

There are still those who prefer traditional publishing as, in certain areas of literature, it is a better option to use traditional publishing, but many have broken out of that mold into the world of self-publishing that provides more freedom of creativity and independent decision-making.

A crucial part of publishing, whether it be traditional or independent, is the editing process—one of the reasons being that the editing process can also affect the raw creative process.

Let’s go on a little trip to the world of publishing and find if there’s a pot of gold at the end of the self-publisher’s rainbow. Hear ye, all self-publishers! There is good news below and I discuss what you need to know about editing for self-publishers.

Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing has brought us a long way, but it has become a massive industry in itself that can shut out talented writers if they do not want to sign restrictive contracts or agree to certain terms or conditions.

Thus, to understand how different self-publishing is from the original and age-old business, one must earnestly study the details in black and white.

You may find some information that surprises you even if you are familiar with both methods. Here are some of the cornerstone characteristics of traditional publishing:

  • When you sign with a traditional publisher, there are some hidden clauses or fine print you need to look out for that may cause you to lose many of the rights over your work.

For example, some publishing houses include the rights to the audiobook in their contract, which means you cannot independently self-publish an audiobook, but they may not even make one themselves.

This is going to leave you between a rock and an uncomfortable hard place instead of clinking a glass of bubbly over your successes.

  • Other things that make traditional publishing seem less enticing include (low) royalty rates, you possibly having to give up creative control when it comes to editing, and the fact that it’s an incredibly slow process.

On the other hand, a famous publisher can make you a brand name, but at what costs?

  • A great pro of traditional publishing, on the other hand, is if a reputable publishing house helps convert your work into a best-seller. It happens, but once in a blue moon.
  • However, once you sign a contract for a book with a publisher, your work, in essence, now belongs to the publisher for the lifespan of the copyright, which is a time period that consists of your own life plus 70 years after you die.
  • As we earlier mentioned, if you choose a traditional publisher, depending on the type of work you want to publish, you may have less control over the creative process.

You will not be allowed a lot of input in the editing process and the chances that you will be allowed to request changes after the editing process is done is also very unlikely.

For most writers, fiction and nonfiction, this is a matter of concern.

The Perks of Self-Publishing

Self-publishers do most of the work themselves; however, there seems to be a good reason for that. The most interesting part for me is that self-publishing is about just as old as traditional publishing; it has been practiced for centuries.

Of course, you wouldn’t have found someone in the 1400s with a new Kindle—at least I don’t think so—which means the defining aspects of self-publishing have changed as well.

Here’s a good question for you:  Why are some many people going with self-publishing?

  • First, to self-publish a work or a book and to see it gain momentum and success is very empowering.

Self-publishers and their work are not forced into a mold, so the work itself can sometimes be refreshing to readers, whether it is the writing style, the level of honesty, or the level of creativity.

Some things are too risky for traditional publishers, but from a self-publishing perspective, they may end up being wildly successful.

  • If you decide to be a self-publisher, whether you are going to author the works or not, your greatest advantage is having total and complete power over your work—whether it be the book title, the book cover, the writing style, the storyline, or anything else you can think of. If you are your own boss in the publishing industry, you get to make all of the choices.

Additionally, if you need someone to help you with the creative process without taking your authority away from you during any part of the creation process; there are fantastic options out there to choose from.

  • With self-publishing, you don’t have to wait for anyone or any group decisions to be made before you can start marketing your work. Once you’ve gone through all the processes and your product is ready to publish, you just upload it to platforms like Amazon, iBooks, and other stores, and you can start selling your work within 72 hours max.
  • Did someone say royalties? Oh yes, we discussed it earlier when we were talking about traditional publishing. Let’s just say that if you choose to earn royalties by selling self-published books on Amazon, you may get 50% more of what you would’ve if you traditionally published your book. Sounds wild, doesn’t it?
  • Finally, because you retain the rights, you can sell your self-published book within any global market and sell your work anywhere across the world.

When it comes to traditional publishing, you will most likely sign off this privilege to the publishing house, which will leave your work in a limited space with limited exposure.

A Self-Publisher’s Editing Needs

So, if there were to be one con in the world of self-publishing, what would it be? Most probably either doing everything yourself or finding the right type of professionals to help you bring your vision to life without taking away any of your say in the creative process.

Editing can make or break a book, but if you are not allowed to give any input in the editing process, can you really call it self-publishing?

Here are a few things to consider when looking for a professional editing service as a self-publisher:

  • The editor should be familiar and experienced with the ins and outs of self-publishing and the formatting requirements for ebooks, audiobooks, and other editing and formatting styles.
  • The editor should be able to understand different writing styles, genres, and niches, and apply their editing style accordingly.

Additionally, they need to understand your requirements and the message you want the book to convey to the reader.

  • An editor or editing service should be affordable yet highly professional. Dare I say that the standard of such an editor must be as high as one you would get in a traditional publishing environment.
  • A bonus would be if you can find an editing service that provides extra perks, either on its own or that forms part of a larger professional service that can cover all your self-publishing needs.

In this case, if you need to tweak or recheck anything or if you want to change anything, all services are at your disposal in one place.

Imagine being able to use top editors while also having the opportunity to collaborate with them and point out areas you want to be revised. Now, that’s what I call collaboration!


If you want to go into self-publishing, then self-publishing vs traditional publishing is a legitimate area you need to familiarize yourself with just to see what both sides offer and to understand, from a self-publisher’s perspective, why your choice gives you more creativity and business freedom.

Editing and choosing an editor or an editing service as a self-publisher is vital to preserving the authentic and creative golden string that runs through your work—an opportunity you have only if you pursue self-publishing or if you are in a position to pull strings at a publishing house.

Which one seems more likely?

If you are looking for a premium service that provides not only a top editor but also includes perks like revision requests after your work has been edited, take a look at our Premium Bundles and Editing Packages for stress-free assistance with the self-publishing process.

Self-publishing can be daunting and a bit confusing at first, I know.

However, if you have a service that can lead you into doing things right from the beginning or into setting your self-publishing practice straight, you can literally just sit back and wave your wand whenever you need to.

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