Best Bang For Your Buck: Editing vs. Marketing Budget

Here’s a common concern I hear from many authors and, in all honesty, voiced myself when I first dived into publishing:

I’d like to have my work professionally edited, sure, but I’m not made out of money. My manuscript is around 70,000 words, so that’ll run me $350. Roughly the cost of a Bookbub advertisement! Why should I spend my limited funds on editing instead of marketing?

I understand that investing in editing sometimes feels like a risky proposition, but it’s vital to remember that pro-editing and intense marketing go hand in hand. At the simplest level, advertising gets your readers in the door, but quality is what keeps them coming back for more.

A well-edited book is not just a point of professional pride, but also a marketing “force multiplier.” While a book advertisement campaign is a one-time event, carefully polished novels continue earning back that editorial investment many times over. Whether a short story or epic novel, books that have been professionally edited enjoy several competitive advantages:

  • Repeat Business: Drastically increased read-through to the rest of your series.
  • Point of Sale: Ramps up the “conversion rate” of your retail product page by minimizing negative reviews, maximizing positive reviews and guaranteeing the best “look inside” sample possible. Nothing hampers sales as much as a single review stating, “I loved the story, but the editing was just…”
  • Subscription Services: Significantly reduces the did-not-finish-reading (dropped books) rate. This is particularly valuable if your book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, since you’re being paid per page read from all those borrowers.
  • Brand Loyalty: Dramatically improves the number of sign-ups to your mailing list, which is the gold standard of book marketing and the key to building a lasting publishing career.

As you can imagine, even a modest increase of 10-20% in any of these metrics would recover your investment in short order, but that’s just the beginning.

With over four million e-books for sale on alone and an average of 3,000 new works uploaded every day, it’s more crucial than ever to stand out from the pack. Of all the options for investing in your publishing business, professional editing gives independent authors not only the best bang for their buck, but the best chance to thrive in this ultra-competitive marketplace.

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