Pesky errors got you down? Tired of hearing you’re using ‘reign’ instead of ‘rein’? Does trying to figure out the difference between the two leave your head in a tizzy? Do you love the word ‘that’? Do you capitalize your dialogue tags and don’t know why? Get thee to an editor.
Got a hole in your plot big enough for a Mac truck? Are your scenes lacking panache? Are your descriptions falling flat? Get thee to an editor.
When you’ve done all you can on your own, it’s time to get some help. Go ahead and send your baby out to your beta readers… they can give you some good advice. They may not all agree, however, and you’ll need to pick and choose what will work and what won’t. Still, when you’re done reworking the story for the tenth or hundredth time… it’s good to have eyes on it that know what to look for.
What can a professional editor do?
- Help you find the glaring issues in your story
- Fix timeline problems others may have missed
- Get rid of the annoying errors readers will be sure to mention in their reviews
- Tighten your writing
- Polish that manuscript and make it shine
- Make you look good
Doesn’t that sound worth it? Especially that last one. Your book is your baby. You’re putting it out there for the world to see. You want it looking all pretty and clean, not all messy, right?
And what does the editor get out of it? The satisfaction of helping an author and some money to pay the bills. Do we like it when we’re mentioned in the acknowledgements? Sure. We appreciate your thanks. Do we demand it? No. We’re happy even if you don’t mention us in public. We’re happy because we were able to help you get your book ready for the public. That’s what makes us tick. What makes us get up in the morning. We don’t necessarily need the accolades. We just like what we do.
So if we like it so much, why don’t we do it for free?
Well, sometimes we do. Most of the time, however, we need to pay bills. We need to feed the kids, just like you. Editors understand that it’s hard to spread the money around sometimes. We have the same problems. It comes down to what’s important. If someone wants to go on a vacation, they’ll save up for it. If they want Prada shoes, they’ll save up for them. If they want a 125 gallon fish tank, they’ll save up for it. If they want editing, they’ll save up for it (or take advantage of a payment plan). Whatever becomes important, we find the means to do. Is your book important? Then you should do what you can to present it in the best way possible. This includes good editing and a good cover. Can just anyone edit or do a cover? No. Some do not possess the skills to do these things. Some are not the right fit for each author. But when you find that fit, it’s worth the price.