Why Do I Need an Editor Anyway?

You’ve written a book! You’ve spent untold hours doing research, outlining chapters, getting to know your characters, and now, finally, it’s complete and ready to be published. But wait, is it? Have you had it edited?

20081203_RedPens-1Nah, I don’t need an editor, you say. I’m a good writer, and besides, my spouse and my best friend have both read it, and they say it’s fine.

Both of those may be true, but you still need an editor. And here’s why:

First of all, you are so very close to your book that it is difficult, if not impossible, for you to catch every error you’ve made, even if you’ve read your book several times. You know what you meant to say in each sentence, so your brain will just skip over things like a missed or misspelled word.

As for your spouse and best friend reading your manuscript, they may believe it’s fine. But seeing the very personal connection they have to you, are they really going to point out every flaw? What if one section of narrative drags on too long? Or you switch points of view too many times in a scene? Will they realize this? More importantly, will they point it out to you or let it go at the risk of bruising your ego? That’s something to think about.

Face it, you’re looking for your book to sell. And if it has mistakes that annoy readers, it won’t sell as well as it could. If Reader A buys your book and finds errors, he or she may tell Reader B not to bother. Reader B will tell Reader C, and so on. On the other hand, if Reader A buys your book and loves it, he or she will tell Reader B just that, and Reader B will tell Reader C…you get the point. While good news travels fast, bad news travels faster. And you want your audience to have nothing but good things to say about your book.

But editing is so expensive, you say. I really can’t afford it. I would say that you really can’t afford not to have your manuscript edited. Go back to Readers A, B and C above. If they don’t like your first book because of the errors, none of them will buy your second book. So now not only have you lost sales on your first book, but any potential future sales of other books you may write, because you’ve annoyed people. Readers have long memories, and you want them to have good ones, not bad.

You’ve invested hours and hours of time, blood, sweat, and tears into your manuscript. Invest the money it deserves to have it edited by a professional who has spent years honing his or her craft. Over time, it will come back to you in increased sales and untouchable credibility. And who doesn’t want that?

One thought on “Why Do I Need an Editor Anyway?

  1. Great point Sue. Sometimes we are too close to our own work and need the outside review by a third party such as a professional editor. Thanks for this viewpoint. 🙂

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