The Importance of…Editing
March 30, 2017
Happy Thursday everyone!
I am beginning a short series about the “Importance of…” different topics in our industry that many of you might not know or be up to date on.
I know everyone has their books “edited”, but do you really?! Having beta readers or other authors read over your manuscript isn’t quite what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the nitty gritty details of your manuscript from concept to story to grammar. The worst part of writing a book (this one topic will probably keep me from ever becoming a published author) is editing, in my opinion. It is, however, one of the most important investments you can make, and it usually is an investment: of time, energy, and money.
There are many editors out there, good and bad, like everything else, as well as different styles and based on genres.
There are some key factors to remember when you’re considering the editing of your next manuscript:
— You should already be on your second or third draft of the manuscript (if not more) before an editor sees it…don’t send your first manuscript. You will inevitably be wasting their time and your money. There are always things to fix and plot holes that need to be addressed from a first manuscript, no matter how many books you’ve written.
— You’re not paying the editor to tell you it’s amazing, you’re paying the editor to make your manuscript shine! They’re not here for your ego, they’re hired for a task, a difficult and daunting one. I know I seem all doom and gloom about editing, but it is truly essential and makes you a much better writer, so check your emotions at the door, it’s not personal. The goal is always to grow from manuscript to manuscript. There should be a progression of your writing, you should not have to fix the same exact issues for the last ten books you’ve written. If so, you’re not taking the corrections from your editor and applying them to your next book, which is only going to make life more difficult for you…
— Editing and revision takes time…sometimes quite a bit! Depending on the type of editing your manuscript needs, this process can take a couple of months easy. It doesn’t always, but if you’re a baby writer, expect to add three months to your editing time, so you’re not rushed and the book becomes the best it can be. I can’t say it enough, don’t put a book up that is not ready! I will put a book down if it has over four errors that I find, and I read fast, so I miss things quite often. Don’t expect absolute perfection, but close to it!
— Work with your editor to accomplish your goals for the manuscript. What is the purpose of the book? Who is your audience? Are your characters deep enough and likable? What is the pace of the book? There are even more questions to consider when discussing your manuscript with your editor.
— As I said above, editors are everywhere…so which one is perfect for your books? Here are a couple of items to consider: Do they like your genre and actually read that genre for enjoyment? What kind of editor are they and can they meet your needs? Do they have references along with samples of their work for you to review? How did you find them or were they recommended to you by someone? Are they in your budget? What is their timeline and how many rounds of editing do you receive? Click here for a great list of questions to ask a potential editor.
Word of mouth is always the most influential form of advertising. I would eat at a restaurant recommended by a friend above selecting the chain restaurant up the road all day long. The same applies to a book…if I’m interested in a book that I don’t recognize the author but it looks intriguing, I ask my friends if they’ve read it. I will absolutely take their recommendation 100% of the time if they’ve read it already. Why? Because I know them and trust their opinion…I wouldn’t have asked them if not.
Ask your writer friends and acquire feedback about their industry professionals as you embark on completing your personal tribe in this competitive industry.
Talk to you soon,