An Editor is a Must

Present word count of WIP:  24,186

Seth Godin’s Advice for Authors:

3. Pay for an editor. Not just to fix the typos, but to actually make your ramblings into something that people will choose to read. I found someone I like working with at the EFA. One of the things traditional publishers used to do is provide really insightful, even brilliant editors (people like Fred Hills and Megan Casey), but alas, that doesn’t happen very often. And hiring your own editor means you’ll value the process more.

Hear, hear!!! I am reading a book right now for Whitney judging purposes that has all kinds of typos, head hopping, even whole words left out. I’m not sure if it’s because the author rushed the PDF version in order to qualify it for judging, or what, but you can be sure it won’t make my top five.

Whether you’re self-publishing (and particularly if you’re going that route) or not, you should have extra eyes on your manuscript once you think it’s in its top, finished form. I did that for my first novel (self-published) and it really paid off. Not only did the woman catch all my favorite words and phrases, but she pointed out a weakness or two in the plot or pacing.

I don’t care if you’re working on your first novel or your fifteenth. As you write, you develop what I like to call “writer’s blindness.” You are so used to the story in your head and all you have developed in terms of backstory, as well as all you know that’s coming up, that you forget to read what you’ve written as a critical reader would. I’m not sure it’s even possible for you to do so.

I have a terrific writer’s group, and while I rely on one member for the overall plot picture and pacing, another for the emotion in my scenes, another for the lilt of the language, and the last for the nuts and bolts of grammar and spelling, I still plan on running the finished version by a professional editor. Why? Because, unlike my writer’s group, he/she will read it in a more condensed time frame, not having fallen in love with it gradually as my writer friends may have. He/she will be critical, honest, thorough, and most of all–worth it!

So, plan for an editor.

Originally posted 2012-01-23 16:50:02.

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9 thoughts on “An Editor is a Must

    • Thanks so much, Liz. Did you recognize yourself in my comments about my group? You add a lot more than that, of course. :)

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I’m one of those authors that is more talented in developing characters and storylines and weak in spelling and technical issues. I’ve hired an editor for everything I’ve submitted, and it really makes a difference.

    • Good for you, Jason! It’s important and a mark of a professional, in my opinion, to own up to weaknesses without embarrassment and find a way to work around them. Any good author always looks to improve.

    • How much editing help do you get on your traditionally published projects, Stephanie, just out of curiosity?

  2. This is excellent advice, but BE CAREFUL. There are a lot of preditors out there. One of my friends lost thousands of dollars on a so called Book Doctor. Use the best form of “advertisement”–someone you know and trust that has used them before.

    • Very true. I used Pat Holt for my first book after I’d heard her present at the San Francisco Writers Conference because I could tell she knew her stuff, having been a book reviewer for so many years as well as a writer and editor.

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