It's hard to get a manuscript picked up by a large publisher, and unfortunately, life isn't easier for those who opt for self publishing. Everything involved self-publishing is drawn out and has to be near perfect to work. Fortunately, finishing the manuscript is simply part of being a writer. Finding a good book doctor who can perfect the text and assist in getting the word out, however, can be more tedious. This is why indie writers should understand the challenges they'll face and how to overcome them when searching for a book doctor.
The first hurdle most indie writers encounter is finding a book doctor with the right professional experience. Performing a quick search for any type of book editor or doctor online will return a wealth of results, but it's important to remember that there is no background check for credentials necessary for someone to call themselves a book doctor. In fact, a huge proportion of people offering these types of services online have no real professional experience. Many of them are indie writers who edited their own work, and somehow believe this gives them the experience to edit others. Fortunately, there's an easy way around this: research. Performing a quick Google search can let you see if their potential book doctor has done anything worthwhile.
Sadly, the high cost of some book doctors is another obstacle faced by indie writers. While it's important to find an expert book doctor who can get the job done right, it's also imperative to be thrifty. While a price cannot really be put on developmental help, a writer can save a ton of money by ensuring that their book doctor doesn't have to make heavy edits. In most cases, this can be accomplished simply by putting a finished manuscript aside for a bit and then reading the entire thing to perform one's own edits. In the end, this will make the book doctor's job easier, and thus, cost less.
Another difficulty that many indie writers come upon is the current demand for book doctors. After all, a writing professional who is already working on two manuscripts may have difficulty adding a third to the fray. This has become an even bigger issue now that self-published books are flooding the market. This means that book doctors who aren't already engaged are more difficult to come by. To circumvent this, authors should start looking for and researching book doctors before they've even completed their manuscript. This will ensure that once they've finished and given their own work the quick once-over, they'll have a great book doctor waiting, ready to perfect their manuscript. Like any professional service, it can take some time to find the book doctor who's just right for the job. Fortunately, it's not an impossible process -- it simply takes recognizing the hurdles that lie ahead and learning to overcome them. When this is done successfully, an indie writer's chances of success rises greatly. Photo Credit: Nanaki via Flickr.