Some of those dollars can be reduced or eliminated by doing things yourself but others should really be considered “must haves” when it comes to your book.
Hiring a professional editor is one of those must haves. However, rather than viewing an editor as a financial expense, recognize your editor as an investment in you and your book.
“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” – C. J. Cherry
Benefits of a Professional Editor
If what you really need is just a second pair of eyes, why shouldn’t you just let your best friend, neighbor or sister edit your book?
First off, they are emotionally attached to you and may not feel comfortable letting you know if your book has holes or inconsistencies. Second, they may not recognize grammatical issues like a change in tense, voice or sentence structure. Third, just like you hesitate selling your car to your friend, you shouldn’t have them edit your hard earned work. What if they start second guessing who the book is about. “Is that character really your Aunt Millie?” “Did you get arrested in real life like your main character?”
Hire an impartial person.
A professional editor brings a unique set of skills to the project:
- They will want your book to succeed as much as you do and therefore will approach the project from an almost ownership perspective. They’ll have your best interest at heart.
- They have experience so they’ll be familiar with plot line, story arc and characterization that could help tighten up your story before you start shopping it around.
- Their obvious skill is the fact that they understand grammar, sentence structure and how to look for inconsistencies. They’ll save you from the embarrassment of referring to a secondary character by the wrong name, marrying off someone you killed in the first half or referring to real life circumstances incorrectly. For example, you don’t want to write about Elvis living in Nashville when he clearly came from Memphis. A sharp reader will pick up on that and it will take them out of the story.
These are just a few of the many reasons you will want to invest in your book and hire a professional editor. That is not to say you should never have your best friends help in the editing process.
Before you hire the professional, make sure you have reread and rehashed your story. If you feel comfortable having a close personal friend help in the process, go for it. Make sure that before you hand your book off to the professional editor that you have already made it the best story you are capable of writing. That may take five revisions or 20, but a great way of focusing your editor’s efforts and your budget is to edit the book to your best ability before seeking help from a professional.
Bottom Line: The finished project will be the best book you can possible write and your readers will thank you for it.
For more information check out this article that appeared in Huffington Post by David Kudler entitled 7 Deadly Myths and 3 Inspiring Truths About Book Editing.