I’m an avid fan of Catherine Ryan Howard’s self publishing blog and read it regularly. I was intrigued by today’s informative and thought-provoking post which was guest written by Robert Doran of Kazoo Independent Publishing Services and argues whether it is better to invest in a structural edit or a copy edit, when you are preparing to launch your book into the world.
His view, and that of many of the people who have left comments, seems to err on the side of paying for a copy edit on the grounds that you can learn how to address structural difficulties yourself, but my sense is that if the structure is all over the place, with the plot unravelling and the characters behaving inconsistently, readers aren’t going to be seduced by the fact that all the commas are in the right places. The structure is the foundation on which your book is built and I think you need to be really sure that it is sound before you start tinkering with aspects of presentation, although of course it is important that grammar and punctuation are as good as you can make them.
It isn’t necessary to spend a fortune buying these kind of services, you can always enlist the help of a critical friend. Reciprocal mentoring is a wonderful thing – you learn so much whether you are giving or receiving advice and it is illuminating (and cheap!) to do.