So You Think You Don’t Need an Editor, Part 2

pen&paperIn my previous article, So You Think You Don’t Need an Editor – Part One, I discussed the fact that your editor is a fresh pair of eyes to go over your manuscript and give it the polish it needs to become a successful book.

I know for many of you money is tight, and unless you’re one of the very few lucky writers who gets picked up by a traditional publisher, you’re going to have to invest some of your own money into producing your book. Typically, at least in my part of the county, a good editor will charge around one or two cents per word, which means for an 80,000 to 100,000 word manuscript you’re looking at spending around $1000 to $1500. I know it’s a lot of money, and I know that some of you are tempted to take shortcuts. My advice: Don’t do it.

For example, it’s tempting to ask your friends, you cousin, of even your mom to do your editing, and while these folks can offer good suggestions, unless they have a background in journalism, teaching English, or other professional writing experience, they’re really not qualified for the job. Let me give you an example of what happens when you ask your friend or relative to do a job that should be handled by a professional. One of my friends once told me she had her mother help her with her income tax return. Her mother had no accounting or bookkeeping experience, and needless to say, her return ended up being audited by the IRS. They came after her, not only for the additional taxes that she owed, but with penalties and interest as well. She ended up paying far more for the penalties and interest than what she would have spent on a qualified tax-preparer. Likewise, when you have an unqualified person edit your book, it too can come back with penalties and interest in the form of bad reviews.

Remember, your editor really isn’t interested in changing your content. They are looking for things such as incorrect homonyms, dangling participles, improper paragraph formatting and other things that make you look like an amateur.

We’ve entered a time when anyone with a pulse and a computer can upload a book on Amazon Kindle and call themselves an author, which means the market is now flooded with badly written books. I’m reading all kinds of comments about this on various forums from frustrated readers who are tired of bad books and want some sort of vetting process. If you want to get those five-star reviews to make you stand out from all those amateurs then find yourself an experienced professional book editor.  Nothing will kill your writing career faster than having a poorly-written book with bad reviews.

My tip for the day.