“Can you guarantee an error-free manuscript?”
This is a question that seems to come up in almost every conversation I have lately. And the answer is a truthful NO. Books published and printed by the major publishing houses often have errors even after being read, edited and revised several times. Each year I purchase classroom sets of texts that have been printed and reprinted–even these novels sometimes contain errors. The truth is that no editor (or publishing company, for that matter) can make this guarantee.
My advice for authors seeking to publish independently is simple: Understand that writing is a process that requires more than one draft, more than one revision, and more than one person willing to read the unfinished product. If you are looking for a professional to edit your work, ask another writer for suggestions before surfing the web in search of an editor. Once you find a reliable editor, spend time developing a good working relationship with that person. Be sure that he or she respects your creative integrity, but is also willing to give you true, critical feedback.
Writing is work. And no manuscript is perfect after a single draft. Some are not perfect after six drafts. So my best advice to writers seeking to publish independently is to find an editor you can rely upon and a process that works for you. Do not expect perfection after a single edit, but instead focus on making your manuscript better with each revision. Errors might remain, as they do in some traditionally published books produced by top publishing companies. The key is to embrace writing as an art form that you, with the help of a good editor, continue to perfect with each new novel.