There’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding out there about the role of book editors. Here in this post of my weekly series, I help to debunk some of those misconceptions:
#1: Good writers don’t need editors.
In the “new world” of self-publication and “service” publishers you hear this quite frequently: “I checked it through a hundred times. Microsoft Word’s Spelling-check comes up clean. It’s ready!”
Who told you that professional editors only use spell-check? While it is true you can hire proofreaders whose only purpose is to checking your grammar and spelling, a professional editor offers so much more—and never EVER uses the word processing “spell-check”! Your editor proofreads your work word-by-word and line-by-line. Additionally,your editor will help you to avoid needless repetition, uneven pacing, and side-plots that go nowhere.
By the time you’ve spent weeks, months, or years on a project, you can’t see the words any more. You can see the ideas. An editorwillhelp you to see “the forest” AND “the trees”.
Myth #2: I had my wife/dad/neighbor/high-school English teacher read it through, and they didn’t find anything.
No doubt about it: the more the merrier! Except, those readers know you and love you (that’s great), and that’s a disadvantage.Your friends are all going to give you wonderful support and advice, but a professional editor’s primary connection to the book is the manuscript itself. This ensures objectivity.
Myth #3: All editors are the same.
No. We have discussed this before, not all editors are the same (see this post). There are a variety of editing tasks that need to be addressed as a book goes through the publishing process, each of which requires a different set of skills (really, you should read this post).
One editor might provide many of those functions, but not all at once. And, while we are at it, you should budget what you can afford in order to create the book that has the impact you’re looking for. No, the cheapest editor is not always the best choice for your manuscript. Don’t settle.
Myth #4: The editor marked up my manuscript!“Diction?”“Series commas?” I believe he is making-up some things.
We all cringe at the sight of our words marked in red, a habit instilled during our school days. But those marks the editor made aren’t criticism. An editor’s first job is to create the best book possible out of your manuscript. Welcome the editor’s professional judgment, but if you honestly disagree with a change, let the editor know and ask for the rationale. Everything is made better with good communication.
When you are ready to invest in the services of a professional editor, contact us here at Detroit Ink Publishing! We are ready to work with you!