Authors, do you use beta readers? Editors? I have a guilty secret… #amwriting #amediting

Since I joined the Indie publishing scene back in 2013, I have read SO many times the advice, nay instruction, ‘thou shalt not publish without having your work professionally edited/proof read/beta read’.

But I have a guilty secret…

I don’t use editors or proof readers.

Gasp! Isn’t my work trash?

Well, apparently not, if my reviews are to be believed. Here is a snippet from a recent review, from an Amazon Vine Reviewer, no less:

“This is a good, entertaining read with lots of originality. And THANK YOU to the author for the lack of errors and grammar that mar so many books these days!”

Okay, I admit to working with a writer’s group – they get to see my first draft and pick up on any obvious procedural errors (like the 36 hour day I once managed to write in), and suggest ways of strengthening the plot.

Then I finish the novel and have 2, or at most 3 beta readers. Only if they all say the same thing about any part of the book do I make any changes.

And after carrying this guilty secret with me for years now, I was hugely relieved to read this post from well known author Dean Wesley Smith:

This makes me feel SO much better about my writing. It’s how I began, how I’ve continued, and how I intend to continue.

I DO think editors etc. are an excellent idea for writers at an early stage of their careers, when they still have much to learn, but I’ve been doing this job professionally (writing non-fiction for magazines and books) for decades, and while I’m always learning more, I have a fair bit of confidence in my own ability to tell a tale, and tell it in reasonable English. If I break a grammar rule, I (probably) meant to!

How about you writers? Is there anyone else out there who shares my guilty secret. I know of one other. Are there any more?



  1. Flying solo over here.
    Miss Plumtartt gives things a once over, {I have a terrible blind spot when it comes to commas and apostrophes} but other than that, it’s just me.
    I know that I have a ridiculous manner of writing, but for better or worse, I want to write in my own ‘voice’.
    Happy Reading & Writing!
    ~Icky. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And you have fully achieved your unique voice, Icky. Good to know I’m not alone πŸ˜€


  2. Fab post Deb. Brava for admitting your bravery. Admittedly, it does get easier a few books in. Now about to publish my 6th book and learning lots from my editor along the way I can easily spot weak spots and jumbled sentences, and my grammar and punctuation were never really an issue. But scaredy cat that I am, I still don’t have the guts to publish without running it through my editor. Thank goodness she’s so reasonable and charges me in CAD dollars and and as each book goes to her the rates get cheaper because the red strikeouts are fewer and fewer LOL. πŸ™‚ x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you, reducing your costs that way! πŸ˜€
      I still don’t think I would like to do it without my writer’s group, because we can get so close to our work it’s easy to make a booboo. But my first novel, written well before the Indie revolution, won an award and got me 2 agents without ever having seen an editor. My writing was praised by the publishers in their rejections, just the old story of not being what they were looking for at that time. My feeling is, if it was good enough to do that, then surely subsequent ones will be equally good, if not better because, as you say, we learn more with each book under our belts.
      I’ve just not been brave enough to admit it in the current Indie world until I read that blog post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow Deb, you should do editing on the freelance! Cuz you don’t have enough to do, LOL. πŸ™‚ xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Anne Hagan · · Reply

    I’ve never used an editor but I do use Beta readers for some of my work. They don’t typically get finished books. Two or three that are familiar with one of my series, in particular, get beefy outlines to read for plot and inconsistencies with previous books. I do use a proofreader from time to time as well but it’s a private arrangement with a sharp-eyed family member.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent! So nice to find I’m not alone πŸ˜€


  4. Me, too. I do a poor writer’s copy edit on my short stories, though I do pay for copy editing for the novels, since that’s a better investment of time for me. I don’t use beta readers or developmental editors.

    The culture of the writing crowd is that you cannot trust yourself as a writer. That you have to get a handful of beta readers, a developmental editor, then get a copy editor and a proofreader. Somewhere in there, the writer gets left out of the process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think we need to grow in confidence about our abilities as writers, and adjust the outside assistance we use accordingly, while taking care not to get arrogant and think we know it all.


  5. Glad to see this on the Bookdesigners newsletter Deb. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are my hero today. I debate every book whether to spend the money on an editor (and always seem to pull the trigger). You give me courage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think it’s an essential step for many new authors, but when you write professionally you not only understand use of language, but you get used to analyzing technique. Trust yourself.


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