When we write our books, we know our stories or subjects best. They’ve been living in our heads for weeks or months (or years), we know what we want to say, and we have a good idea what will resonate with our readers. It’s our baby, and we’re understandably proud of it.
When it comes time to edit, we might think the same: I can polish it myself to publish-ready standards. I’ve seen what sells, and I can do that. Given the variety of platforms available to publish on, this is especially the case for those who don’t go through publishing houses.
Which begs the question: Why do we need professional editing?
I’ve written, ghostwritten or co-written 23 books, and have professionally edited nearly 200 other works of fiction, non-fiction and memoir, in all genres and sub-genres. Nearly all of them have been published; several were bestsellers.
Now for my confession: On most of my books, I have turned to a professional editor, despite my long track record of editing others’ books to publish-ready quality. Here are the reasons:
- A professional editor gives you an all-important objective view of your book.
- A professional editor is experienced. The editor not only is a voracious reader (and possibly a writer — an added bonus), but also knows the type of writing that works in each genre, and what catches the reader’s eye… and what doesn’t.
- A professional editor is expert at spotting inconsistencies, clunky or choppy passages, and problems with character or subject development, dialogue, continuity between chapters and paragraphs, and the overall flow of your book.
- A professional editor tackles these tough questions: What really works? What is really smooth – and what isn’t? What does the character really sound like in dialogue? How do the beginning, middle and end of the book really work together? How solid and consistent is the narrative arc or through-line? Your plots and subplots? And, for non-fiction writers, how well supported are your central messages, points and arguments?
You’ve invested months or years working on your book. Make that wise final investment to bring on an editor who will help make your hard work irresistible to publishers and readers. It’s quite affordable — and a decision that often spells the difference between getting published… or not. We’re here to help.