Even great writers need editors. Here’s why.
When it comes to writing a book, it can feel like you’re climbing a mountain, slogging through each step. When you reach the summit and the book is complete, it is easy to feel like you’re done.
While your original manuscript is done, you are now ready to begin the editing process.
There are a ton of reasons why you need an editor, but it truly boils down to this: An unedited book is not professional.
It is very difficult to self-edit to the standards of a professionally finished book.
For one thing, your brain will often read what you think you wrote or fill in details which either aren’t there or aren’t fully explained.
For another, you simply may not notice if you’ve switched perspectives or from active to passive voice or use a lot of repetitive words.
I am a professional writer and editor as my career — and I still get my books edited by a professional who is not me.
Editing is absolutely necessary for a finished, professional, polished book.
The Job of an editor:
- Fix all grammar and punctuation mistakes.
- Identify inconsistencies, missing information or plot holes.
- Identify areas where more information or explanations are needed.
- Readability and flow — making sure it all makes sense in order and is a cohesive full story.
- Look for repetitiveness, such as using “very” or “big” to describe most things, when a different word would have a bigger impact or flow better.
Working With An Editor
It can be scary or frustrating to hand your baby, your book, a piece of your soul over to an editor.
Some editors take it and then disappear and a month later reappear with your book with all of the edits made and everything fixed.
In some cases with some authors, this is how they prefer to be edited. Have the book taken and made even better and then returned in completed form. Some authors find this frustrating, as they are not in the loop of any changes and may get upset that their book was changed more than they wanted, especially if any major restructuring was done.
I personally am a fan of editing books in a more collaborative way. I put the book in a Google doc and give the author commenting permission. This way, they are able to see the progress being made, see changes, answer any questions I may have (which I put in comments), and make changes they need to.
We share the document and are able to polish the book together. My clients have told me they love this process, as they feel more engaged in it and that they still have a sense of control.
When you are looking for an editor, you want to work with someone you feel comfortable with, who understands your voice and messaging, and who you feel understands you. Someone you vibe with.
Before making a choice of an editor, make sure to get quotes from a couple different ones. Don’t go with the lowest or highest bidder on numbers alone. TALK to each of them. Ask about their editing process, deadlines, timelines, and payment options. Make sure you like the person and feel comfortable giving them your book.
Discuss exactly what type of editing you want and the different costs of each.
Above all, work with someone you WANT to work with. As with all successful relationships, if you like the person and understand each other, the entire process will be easier.