Why Every Writer Needs a Good Editor
All of the greatest writers in the world, all of the literary legends and best-selling big shots, have had great editors, editors that saved them from miserable embarrassment in the public eye.
No matter how accomplished a writer you are, you are going to make mistakes and have some slip-ups. This is just a fact of the writing process. The reason for this is that the writer is too close to the material, has worked on it too long and is too invested in it to see the all the typos, grammatical faux pas, tortured syntax and inappropriate punctuation that have slipped into the manuscript. They have in a sense become blind to them (even though they would be quick to recognize them in someone else’s writing!)
Writers are only human, face it, and often fallible. Everyone now and then confuses “it’s” for “its” and vice versa, everyone occasionally flubs up subject verb agreement, misspells familiar words, writes run-on sentences, confuses character and place names and mixes up scenes.
And nothing sinks a book faster than a poorly edited text. Nothing guarantees dismal reviews (particularly on Amazon and Goodreads) than a thrown together unedited book. While the readers may not be writing aces themselves, they are quick to identify and call out typos, punctuation, usage, and syntax errors and grammatical mistakes in a book and give it a one star ticket to oblivion.
Trade publishers know this as a fact of life and would not think of releasing a book that had not been through the editorial “wringer.” Yet it’s a sad reality that most novice self-published writers, panting to get their book out and on sale, skimp on the all-important editing process and wind up shooting themselves in the foot as a result.
All too often, they fall for some bargain editing software that is not only a waste of money, but also a waste of time. No software program can edit a manuscript effectively and conclusively. Language is too complex, nuanced and variable for a software program to do the job. Even “spell check” is often just plain wrong.
It takes many years of education and experience, including the reading and editing of thousands of books of all kinds, to become a proficient editor, one you can be certain who has “got your back” and who will prevent you from making a fool of yourself.
The few hundred dollars a writer spends on getting good editorial help is a pittance to pay for a perfectly polished book with a good chance in the marketplace. To forgo this minimal yet all-important expense is to be penny-wise, pound-foolish.