So You Think You Don’t Need an Editor–Part One

bookwglassesOne comment I often hear from first time authors is, “I don’t need an editor.  I can do my own editing.


Okay, before I go off on my tangent, I’ll admit I resemble that remark. When I wrote my very first book, Anna’s Kitchen, I too naively thought I didn’t need an editor. In fact, I was such a smart aleck at the time that I thought I knew everything, never mind the fact that I had never written a book before in my life. As far as I was concerned, the spell checker in my word processing software was all I needed. So how did I do?  Well, you may want to refer to my post titled, Just Add Two Tablespoons of Fate. Sure, I can laugh about it now, but it’s a splendid example of why all authors, and especially new authors, simply must have an editor.

An editor is a fresh pair of eyes to go over your manuscript and give it the added polish it needs to turn it into a great book. They are not as much concerned about the content of your work as they are the structure. They look for things such as misspelled words, typos, comma spliced sentences, dangling participles, incorrect homonyms, redundancy, and all the other gaffes that you, as the writer, may have overlooked. The reason why you’re not seeing them is because you’re too involved with your own work to see it objectively. That’s normal, and it’s very human. It’s the same reason why doctors don’t treat themselves or members of their own families.

Some of you reading this may still be skeptical, or you may even think your writing skills are so superior that you simply don’t need an editor. If that’s the case then all I can tell you is that writing can be a very humbling experience. There is nothing quite like having your readers point out all your errors for you and post them on the Internet for the entire world to see. Once that happens your credibility as an author is pretty much shot, and you can kiss your writing career goodbye.

What do Danielle Steel, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and Dean Koontz all have in common? They all have an editor. And if these authors all have editors, then what makes you think you don’t need one?

My thought for the day.



How to Write a Good Description of Your Book

From time to time I’ll receive emails from other authors announcing their latest books, and I always enjoy reading them. They’ll of course include a description of the book, but one must be careful not to say too much.

For example, I got an email the other day from an author who’s been in this business far longer than I have. He included a copy of the book cover, (which is important, by the way), but then his description must have been a good 500 words long. His book was fiction, and he described the entire plot. By the time I finished reading the email I had no incentive to buy the book because I already knew the whole story from start to finish.

One the trick I was taught early on was to write descriptions of ten to one hundred words long, but nothing longer. Over time I’ve learned that for most promotional purposes, fifty to one hundred word descriptions work very well. I write teasers, not plot summaries–enough to give you a general idea of what the story is about, and, hopefully, entice you to want to read more. I’ve pasted a copy of my description for my Marina Martindale novel, The Reunion. Please feel free to use it as an example for a teaser description.


Gillian Matthews is becoming famous in the art world. All her hard work has finally paid off and her paintings are being sold in several highly prestigious art galleries. Yet in spite of her success and accomplishments, one thing has always eluded her—true love. Then one night, during her opening at a Denver art gallery, a man from her past unexpectedly appears. Her long lost true love. The one man she never forgot, never got over, and never expected to see again. After being apart for twenty-five long years, will Gillian finally have a second chance for happiness?