Good editors add, they don’t take away. Still, in indie publishing, editors get a bad rap. But we get it. You’ve spent countless hours on your manuscript, you want to protect it. It IS your baby. You conceived and nurtured it. You don’t want anyone who had nothing to do with it getting their grubby paws on your words. No one wants their message distilled.

The other issue is that editing sort of has a bad connotation; one that harkens back to the days of school essays. Whether you dreaded the thought of having to turn a paper in or couldn’t wait to get started, (like me!) you may still have memories of those angry red marks inflicted by a mean teacher’s pen.

Ultimately, between authors and editors, it is a collaboration, not a series of corrections. Editors must champion their writers and by their actions, keep them assured (in word and in deed) that the integrity of their work is everything.

The Writers and Editors of the Indie Publishing Movement

We need one another. Without editors, writers would not have that professional set of eyes liberating their message. Without writers, editors would ________. (Insert alternative!)

Good editors need to be multi-tool players. They must be:

  • Talented
  • Intuitive
  • Attentive
  • Inventive
  • …and absolutely love what they do!

Indie publishing editors must also:

Be Committed to Quality Control.

No matter the genre of your book, you want consistency across terms and usage. You want the readability of your manuscript to be so off the charts, readers can’t put your book down. When the ebb and flow of your words wash over them, they’ll be pre-ordering your next book. A good editor will live this dedication.

Exhibit a True Passion for the Work.

It might be a stretch to say copy editing is a vocation, but if you’ve ever spoken to an indie publishing editor who lives and breathes the creation of well-written work, you’ll inherently know you need that person on your team.

Be Creative.

In deference to writers everywhere, sometimes the real gems get lost in a sea of prose. Having a conversation with the writer and digging in to their thought process is everything. The editor will get an even clearer idea of the intent and the most creative solution can be found. Being inventive and flexible is a HUGE component of being an effective editor.

Be Team-Centric.

Depending on your status in the publishing world, you may or may not have tremendous control over your work. (Especially if there’s a screen adaptation and you’re not hired to write it!)

But in the indie publishing world, you can align with an editor who is the yin to your yang. Once you start working together you develop a short-hand – a style of working that is all your own.

Look at Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Two extraordinary talents who were thrown together. As fate had it, they wound up being the definition of lightning in a bottle with songs that will live forever and more than 30 albums to their credit.

There’s also no stopping Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (the geniuses behind Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land and The Greatest Showman) – a duo that despite this insanely incredible body of work is just getting warmed up. They have years of collaborative history to make.

Writers and editors need one another. It’s a true symbiotic relationship where one can’t exist in the indie publishing world without the other. And like so many dynamic relationships, you will eventually wind up finishing each other’s sentences.

Conscious Shift Publishing consults, edits, formats, designs, publishes, and markets books. Whether writers wish to self- or indie-publish we inspire them through every step to promote their unique perspectives. CSP clients retain 100% of their royalties as well as 100% ownership of every digital file and image. Find out more at or contact publisher, Tracey Kern, at to schedule a complimentary consultation. Write on!