Traditionally published authors have the proofreading, editing, etc thrown in as part of the publishing deal. However, independent authors must pay for it themselves, and this is where the nub resides. Proofreading usually costs in the region of between £500 - £1,000 per 80,000-word book, and editing between £600 - £1,200. Now, we'll do a little math here: I have 14 novels, and if I had sent each one of them to a proofreader (let's ignore editing services - you can do the math yerselves for them) it would have cost me in the region of £10,500 (@ £750/book). Now, don't forget, I have to spend this money up front before I start raking in the trillion of £'s.
So, of course, I had this £10,500 lying around in a drawer just waiting for me to give it to a proofreader. Okay, so the book's ready, no mistakes - it's been proofread and cost me £750, so there'd better not be - but there are! (I kill the proofreader and get life imprisonment for murder!) Anyway, I upload my book and put an extortionate price on it of 75p (86p with VAT). Some simple math again: £750 divided by 0.75p = 1,000. I would have to sell 1,000 books before I actually started making any money on my magnus opus. Now, you're thinking, put a higher price on it! Yeah, I could do that, then no one would buy it, because in comparison to the other books it's too damned pricey - and don't forget - I'm not traditionally published therefore not a 'real author', so people expect to get indie books real cheap.
Not only that, I have people chewing their fingernails to the elbows waiting for the next installment of my roller-coaster of a series - How long does proofreading take? A couple of days, weeks, months? Now, I'm not saying proofreaders or editors wouldn't be a desirable addition to my writer's toolbox (Do writers have toolboxes? Maybe we're talking about a metaphorical toolbox! Or, it could be a spiritual or philosophical toolbox! I remember, when I left school, my second job (let's not talk about the first job) was building ambulances at Herbert Lomas & Sons on Wilmslow Road in Handforth - I was an Apprentice Vehicle Bodybuilder. I only mention this because I built myself a toolbox, and I fell in love with a girl who worked in the administration with blonde hair and freckles called Joyce. You're thinking, not another girl! Yeah, as I said in a previous blog, I was a serial faller-in-lover. So yeah, it'd be the bees knees to have an editor, coz then I could say things like, 'My editor just called...' or 'I've sent the MS to my editor...' People think you're a real writer when you have your own editor... All I've got is a red pen!