What’s it all for? Why does editing or proofreading matter? Isn’t it just an unnecessary expense? My Auntie Bertha used to be an English teacher …
Now, you have to realise that I am going to be slightly biased here … But this blog post isn’t just about hiring me as your editor, it’s about hiring any editor or proofreader.
Who needs an editor?
Freelance editors are great for writers and authors who are self-publishing. If you are self-publishing, you have to think like a publisher and copy their ways of working. Editors can help in many different ways so it’s important to find one that suits you and that you can work with.
Depending on your needs, an editor can support you with all aspects of your writing. For example, you might want specific help with your plot and narrative, in which case a developmental edit is best suited to your needs. Or you might need support with sentence-level editing, making your manuscript clear, concise and consistent, so you’d want a copyeditor.
What’s the difference? This blog post explains!
If you are planning on submitting to an agent or traditional publisher, you may still want some support in getting your manuscript ready. Editors often work with traditional publishers as well as self-publishers and so understand the needs and requirements of these businesses. Don’t be surprised, however, if your manuscript gets sent off for another round of editing once it gets accepted by a publisher! They’ll want to get it to their standards and in their style.
But my friends said the story was okay
Here’s one of the biggest reasons why you should hire a professional. Unlike your friends and family, or even your writing group, a professional editor is distanced from you and can make constructive criticisms without ruining a relationship. That’s not to say an editor will be rude about your work: and if they are, they’re not professional.
Editors that belong to organisations, such as the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, abide by strict guidelines and are trained in the services that they are providing. They know what to look for and how to make suggestions to you, the author. You’ve poured your heart and soul into the manuscript and you deserve to have it looked at by someone who knows what they are doing.
If there was an obvious plot hole in the story, would you want your friends to worry about telling you? That’s often what happens. Whereas, an editor that you have hired is looking for those and knows how to make a difference.
It’s expensive and I worry it won’t make a difference
If it’s your first time writing a book and you are self-publishing, editing can feel like a big expense. But, as I often explain to clients, it’s an investment: you are investing in your book and in yourself.
Reviews matter. And they can make, or break, sales. If your book is littered with spelling errors, you slip in and out of tenses or there are plot holes the size of lunar craters, then your readers are going to notice. And they’re not going to be happy! Investing in your book is going to ensure that you give your readers the best possible experience. Happy readers, positive reviews and more sales!
But hiring an editor is also an investment in yourself. Take note of your editor’s comments and their feedback, even if you wait until the end of the project to do so. You may find that you are overusing a phrase or you are slipping into stereotypes. Next time you write (and there will be a next time – don’t stop at one book!) you’ll be able to implement these changes yourself, making you a better writer.
Make sure you take a look at this blog post, which might save you some money!
My spelling and grammar are good, so why do I need a proofreader?
All done? Happy with your book and ready to send it out to the world?
Proofreading is the very last stage of the process and doesn’t just work with your text. Proofreading will ensure that all the little details, like line spacing, paragraph indentations, chapter headings, page numbers, and so on and so on are all correct. Imagine having a contents page that leads readers to the wrong page! How would that make your readers feel?
Proofreading is the security blanking of publishing. It dots all the i’s and crosses all the t’s, literally and metaphorically! A professional proofreader will give you the reassurance you need that your book is ready for printing (or ebook ready for distribution) and you can sleep safely in the knowledge that any final wrinkles have been ironed out.
It’s scary …
Yes, we all know that handing over your manuscript is scary. But we’re nice people … honest! We’re professional, we’re passionate and we care as much about your book as you do. We’re here to help.
When choosing your editor, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Have they worked on the genre before? Will they understand and be comfortable with the material? What else is included? How long will it take? Every editor is different and every author is different. If we’re not a good fit, then chances are I’ll know someone who is!
Worried about handing over your manuscript? Why not give me 2,500 words? I’ll edit it for free and show you what it’s all about. And if you have any questions about writing, editing or finding an editor, please feel free to get in touch.
Nick (he/him) is an editor and proofreader, specialising in LGBTQ+ writing. He is an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading and a member of PEN, the Professional Editors Network.
To find out more and to work with Nick, use the buttons above.
Receive my newsletter!