Why ALL Authors Need a Professional Editor By Barb Wilson

You’re finished. After weeks and months of writing—adding, rephrasing, and deleting—your book is complete. Take a few minutes to congratulate yourself on your accomplishment.

You’re finished. After weeks and months of writing—adding, rephrasing, and deleting—your book is complete. Take a few minutes to congratulate yourself on your accomplishment.

Now comes the next step: finding a professional editor.

There are many reasons to hire an editor—what is the most important one?

You are an author AND a businessperson. Your writing is the product your business sells, and you want to be successful. Your books need to be the best product you can possibly create. People will purchase your books as long as they are interesting, well-crafted, and error-free.

Bottom line: unedited books are not error-free.

I am a professional editor and a published author. My books are never published until they are edited by a professional editor – someone other than me.

Self-editing your own work is very difficult, if not impossible. Because the story originated with you, your brain will often add details which aren’t actually present, or you will read what you believe you wrote, not what is actually on the page. You may not notice if the narrative switched from active to passive voice, or if you repeated the same clichéd phrases in multiple places when different phrasing would be beneficial.

Would your manuscript benefit by tightening up the narrative? Is your story too brief; does it require expanding? Consistent perspective is vital; have you maintained point-of-view and verb tense throughout? Are your characters well developed and three-dimensional? Are your plot arc and flow correctly paced? Or are they too fast/too slow/lacking detail?

I have had authors tell me they did not need an editor, because their book was checked by an English teacher, who “found all the mistakes.” Or they had a trusted friend read their book and “my friend fixed everything.”

Do you know what editors call English teachers who are asked to edit books? Trick question: we call them English teachers because they are not editors.

Editing is an important component of your success. Don’t fool yourself by thinking it is optional, because it isn’t. Readers will notice sloppy unedited writing, and their posted reviews will reflect that. Bad reviews cost sales and keep readers away in droves.

Your cover art grabs attention; you know great covers will set your book apart. Why would you spend money for a uniquely eye-catching artistic book cover and then decide not to edit the contents? How does that make sense?

In case you didn’t know, there are different types of editing. Editors charge different prices for performing different types of edits; you will often see a per-word price, a per-page price, and a total-manuscript price.

The most comprehensive type of edit is called a developmental or content edit. Editors performing this service for you will evaluate your manuscript for structure, plot arc, flow, and character development (in fiction). Consistency is important; you don’t want a character eating a hamburger on page 12 and a tuna salad sandwich on page 14, and you wouldn’t want a character having blonde hair on page 36 and black hair on page 40. Likewise, your hero won’t get out of the car six different times in the same scene. Development editors will point out large and small errors like these. They will ask questions and suggest word and sentence changes. These edits are thorough and very detailed; they are also more expensive.

Copy editors (or line editors) perform general proofreading, focusing on the mechanics of spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and syntax. These edits are less invasive, more basic and therefore, less costly.

If you do not already have an editor you work with, you should find an editor you trust, someone compatible with your intentions. Ask for referrals from other authors and friends in the writing community. Gather information. If you find the same names coming up repeatedly, contact the editors personally and ask questions about how they work. Communicate what you need from them. Odds are, you’ll find an editor that you can work with.

In short: don’t skip hiring an editor for your book. It may be the costliest decision you will ever make.

 

 

Barb Wilson is a professional editor, with 30+ years of experience and a VIP Associate member of AuthorYOU.org. She is also a published author (fiction and non-fiction), currently writing under multiple pen names. In 2015, she met Judith Briles, aka The Book Shepherd™, at the Las Vegas Writer Conference, and has since stepped up to become a part of Judith’s team of experts. She enjoys working with clients and helping polish their work for eventual publication. In 2018, she did an Editing Workshop Intensive that received outstanding evaluations.

Check out Barb’s webpage for pricing and services information.  www.EditPartner.com

 

 

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Judith Briles

AuthorYOU at AuthorYOU
AuthorYOU is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Ongoing education programs delivered face-to-face and online, the weekly Book Publishing Tips ezine, webinars, member-only events, monthly live programs, and the mini one-day Extravaganzas are tools designed for authors pre, during and post publishing of their books. Become a VIP AuthorYOU member at AuthorYOU.org.
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Judith Briles

AuthorYOU at AuthorYOU
AuthorYOU is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Ongoing education programs delivered face-to-face and online, the weekly Book Publishing Tips ezine, webinars, member-only events, monthly live programs, and the mini one-day Extravaganzas are tools designed for authors pre, during and post publishing of their books. Become a VIP AuthorYOU member at AuthorYOU.org.
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