Are you an aspiring author? Do you ever wonder what an editor does? My last post talked about the importance of attending writers’ conferences. This week, I focus on the Worth of an Editor. They are a valuable, integral part of our writing. If you’re self-publishing, this post is for you. Here’s my best advice:
Hire an Editor.
I can’t stress this enough. Don’t publish without a second set of eyes to go over your manuscript. Sure, your friends and family can read it. They’ll tell you how great it is because they don’t want to offend you. They may spot a few typos here and there. (We all miss some).
As an aspiring author, what you need to understand is that editors are much more than people who correct typos and grammatical errors. They prepare your manuscript and make it ready for publication. They take out what doesn’t belong, while beautifying, tightening, and deepening your story. They make sure each scene is in the correct order, and that your story flows well, your characters are real, and your description is vivid, all the while keeping your meaning, and your voice. That’s right, they’ve got your back. Once they’re done, you have a professional product ready to market. One you can be proud to call yours.
I recently read a sweet story I enjoyed very much. I couldn’t wait to read the last chapter to see how it ended. I could tell, however, it was the writer’s first. It clearly hadn’t been professionally edited. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing this writer who’s a real good friend, or the work I read. I’m using this to make a point.
When you read your work over and over after writing your first draft, and then your second, and for some, a third, you know what’s it’s supposed to say. Your brain knows what words are coming, so you fail to see the mistakes and typos in it.
Imagine the following scenario. I’m attending my first ever Christian Writers Conference. The first editor I ever pitched to takes a look the first couple of paragraphs of my first ever novel and says:
“Don’t publish this….you’ll ruin your name…you’ll never be able to sell anything else.”
Ouch!!! That hurt. I’m not sure what kept me from crying.
As I looked back a little later, though, that editor was so right. It was poorly written and needed a LOT of work. Today, I have the utmost respect for that person.
I’ve always said:
Writing is hard. Editing is harder. Marketing is the hardest.
If you’re serious about writing, and want to become a published author, don’t let the ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ you’ve poured into your writing see the light of day until a professional editor has taken a good look at it and given you feedback. Work with an editor and let him or her turn your story into a beautiful masterpiece.
Believe me, that editor will become your best friend. Mine has. Thanks, Joy.