“Don’t ruin your name.”

With today’s technology, we writers have so much electronic help at our disposal. We put fingers to keyboards instead of pen to paper (for the most part). We have programs that spell-check everything and sometimes will even ask, ‘Did you mean this?’  when we use certain homonyms. Thre’s the Internet with online dictionaries, thesauruses, and a slew of other reference books and so much more.

My favourite gadget is Kindle. When I go anywhere to write, I can take all the reference books I need on one device. My favourite app? MS Word, which is available on most devices nowadays. I save my documents to OneDrive (another awesome tool) and access them from anywhere with my iPhone. Anywhere I go, you can see me jotting down ideas in another great app called A Novel Idea, or working on my WIP.

Okay so we’ve established that technology has evolved a lot over the years, and it has taken our writing to a whole new level. In many ways, I must say it’s a good thing.

There is however one thing—or rather one person—technology will never be able to replace. Your editor. No gadget can do that kind of work as efficiently. I can’t stress enough the importance of having a real live person to go over your manuscript and work not only for you but also with you. Why?

After you’ve read something often enough, you’ve memorize it. When editing, you know what’s coming and no longer see the typos/grammatical errors. Your brain reads what it’s supposed to say but fails to see what’s really there. That’s why it’s so important to pass it to someone else, to get another set of eyes.


Actual page from my last novel (c)

When I attended my very first Christian Writers Conference, I was still working on my first novel. I went there to learn and hadn’t planned on meeting with any editors or agents. After some prompting from my new writer-friends, I arrived at my first ever meeting totally unprepared. The editor read only half of the first page and stopped. For me, a newbie, the words that followed were brutal. ‘Don’t publish that book. You’re gonna ruin your name.’ Ouch! How that hurt! I knew my book wasn’t ready, but I didn’t think it was that bad. The next day, after I’d given it some thought and re-read that page, I returned to say thanks. Yes, it was that bad. It needed work. A lot of it.

Please understand, I’m not trying to deter or scare anyone who’s planning editor/agent meetings at their next conference. On the contrary, I want to stress the importance of acquiring an editor. If you walk in prepared, you’re bound to have a good meeting and might even land a contract.

My biggest piece of advice to any writers out there: do not attempt to replace your editor with any kind of technology. Yes, some editors may be expensive, I get that, but they’re worth every penny and then some.

Regardless what kind of gadgets you get, or how much money you invest, no amount of technology, programs, apps, or reference books will ever be able to replace your editor. You won’t get all the perks he/she has to offer in any of the above mentioned tools. Ever!

So now, are you done writing that novel? You think it’s ready? Acquire an editor and let him/her be the judge of that. Don’t ruin your good name


14 thoughts on ““Don’t ruin your name.”

  1. I can’t express how TRUE this post is. As a freelance editor, I’ve seen published books that leave me gasping for air. HOW did they pass a publisher’s editing eye? In this age of self-publishing, I’ve tried to read books by MULTI-TRADITIONAL-PUBBED authors who’ve skipped hiring an editor like myself. The difference in their self-pubbed books and their traditionally pubbed books is a STARK reality. GREAT POST, RENEE! i’ll be prompting others to read this!

    • Thanks so much, Joy. The words of that editor often echo in my mind and I’m forever grateful. Even though I self-published my novels, I’ve worked with two different editors, and seeing all they caught that I’d missed (and there was A LOT), I could never click the PUBLISH button until a full run through edit had been done followed by a line by line edit.

      Thanks for your feedback.

  2. Great article, Renee-Ann! You are absolutely right about this. I am an editor, as you know, but I have to say that when I write, I STILL go out and hire an editor to review my work before I send it in to a publisher under one of my pen names. You cannot see your own errors. More, it’s important to pick the right kind of editor – content, copy or proof. Content editors look at your story – plot, characterization, goals, motivation and conflict and more. Copy editors are those who specialize in line-by-line or copy edits. They take in in-depth look at the structure of each sentence. And proofreaders are the last line of defense, able to catch the little errors that slip by the eyes – everything from spacing issues and punctuation to typos and double words. Each stage of editing is invaluable.

    • Thanks, Nancy. Yes the ‘kind’ of editor is very important. I wanted someone to tell me if the content made sennse, and where it didn’t, to tell me how to fix it. If it didn’t make sense to the editor, it wouldn’t to my readers either.

  3. I love my editors and my beta readers. I have 3 beta readers who go through my manuscripts both before and after my editor. My publisher believes in the extra eyes. I agree. I’ve found typos, or a formatting error in the last stages. It’s good to have the extra eyes.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ane. Love my proofreaders too. It helps so much to have another set of eyes or two who, after you and your editor are done, can look at it and see if you’ve missed anything.

      Thanks again!

  4. Great article as usual. I’m still working on my first novel, and it feels like I’ll never have it ready for anyone to read. Not even and editor. But you have given me new hope, to not give up and keep going. I’m really hoping to be looking for an editor by the fall if all goes as planned.

    • There’s always hope, Theresa. The best thing is to not give up and things have a way of falling into place. I’m glad this post has helped you in some way. I wish you the best of luck for the fall.

      Thanks for dropping in.

  5. Hi Renee Ann, I have an editing service and am a strong advocate of editing. It’s difficult to see one’s own mistakes for several reasons. For one, often the words that are in one’s head aren’t the ones on the page. LOL. For my books, I have a great writing partner, a wonderful editor and several beta readers. I breathe easier with each edit someone does. Editing is like polishing silver or a car, the more it’s done the more the book shines.

    • Thanks Gail. I love the way you said that….the more it’s done the more the book shines. I hope that all who read this will realize how vital the work–and worth–of an editor is. Word of mouth goes a long way. If all readers find are typos/grammatical errors and the likes, they won’t like it and chances are they will share that with others like they would any great book. We want them to enjoy our stories, and not be distracted by poor grammar/typos/etc. We want good reviews.

      Thanks for sharing.

  6. One of my favorite editing stories comes from when my husband and I edited a business magazine. I’d captioned a picture ” . . . scenery thrills both residents and visitors” that went with an article about a thriving part of the province. I got it back for a final proofread and the graphic designer, finding my caption too long, had changed it to ” … scenery thrills both residents.”

  7. Likely several editors are best as there are different objectives for different editors – spelling and sentence structure versus overall editing. Like seeing pine needles and leaves versus the trees in the forest.

    Great advice once again, R.A. Giggie. In my opinion, your name remains intact.

    Thanks for writing and reading,

    Sarah Butland
    author of Being Grateful, Being Thankful

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