Updated: Apr 11, 2019
In my last blog post I mentioned that I was going to be hiring the services of a professional editor this year for my WIP and in doing my research thought it might be prudent to talk about something practical: Money. I mean, let's face it, it makes the world go round but most people don't have a ton to go around. I know my family doesn't. We work hard and we have enough, we aren't struggling, that doesn't mean that we have a lot of expendable income to spend on what most people would consider a 'hobby'.
So, how do you balance being fiscally responsible while still reaching for your goals? Budgeting. My life doesn't work without a budget. Anything from haircuts and meals out to groceries and IVF bills goes in my budget. If it doesn't, well then, it's not happening. At least not yet. So here are a few budgeting tips and tricks i've come across for getting your WIP edited.
SHOP AROUND. Being a conscientious consumer is important. Get at least 3 quotes for services, editors don't mind giving you a sample of their work and a breakdown of their prices. You won't know if you're overpaying or getting the most bang for your buck if you don't do your homework.
SET A GOAL. Set a goal. If you only have 3k to edit your whole book, well, let editors know that upfront and they can work with you on the price. Or, you may have to adjust your expectations for what kinds of services you can afford or where to focus the editing in your WIP to make it work but don't budge. You can go down a black hole of money for editing if you aren't careful.
CHECK YOUR STATEMENTS. To do an effective budget you need to know where your money is going. Print our the last 6 months of your bank statements and highlight areas where you can 'tighten the belt'. This has been invaluable in helping Jon and I navigate getting out of debt post IVF and has made a lot possible as far as my writing goes. **Starbucks, I miss you**
MEAL PREP. Unfortunately, those nice dinners out with your friends and quick runs through the drive-through are over if you're serious about buckling down to afford editing. Meal prepping and cooking your food is SO MUCH less expensive than eating out. So, meal prep, and grocery prep. You'll be surprised by the difference it'll make in your wallet.
BILLS>SAVINGS>SELF. This is so simple and yet so incredibly hard to follow. When you get paid, pay your bills, see how much you can feasibly and comfortably put in savings (and DO it), before you buy anything for yourself. As your savings grows, you can be more lax but especially at first this is really hard to do. Even though it's hard, it is really effective. So get disciplined, you can do it!
NO CREDIT CARDS. Avoid credit cards and loans, its such an easy fix to just charge the editing on a card but you'll pay for it in the long run... literally, in interest. Be diligent and pay out of pocket, some editors are willing to let you even pay in installments with them which would still save you interest. The point being, don't pay more than you have to!
SELF-EDIT. This is so important to remember. Refine your work and reduce your word count. Editors mostly quote their services by the word. The fewer the words, the lower the cost. Be ruthless, cut out unnecessary filler words and ineffective characters. Here's some resources to keep in mind for self-editing:
Chicago Manual of Style (the latest edition you can find/afford)
Local critique groups or a critique partner
Solid beta readers
Editing software such as Autocrit or Grammarly--some of these are pretty affordable.
8. GIFT CARDS. People don't think about the cost of wrapping a gift. A way to tighten your budget is to give gift cards and save money on the wrapping paper and ribbons. Also, if you're given gift cards hang on to them and use them for essentials. This has been really helpful in stretching my budget when I really need to buy something for a special occasion or when something unexpected happens.
These are just a few budgeting tips to start, but tell me what you think! Do you use any of these tricks? Are you using them to pay for editing? Were they successful? Do you have even better tips or insights? Well, i'm off to eat red beans and rice for the next week and put some money in savings for an editor.