There are times when I get a little weary trying to explain to newbie authors why they need to have their manuscripts professionally edited. Sometimes they get it, other times they don’t. (Sigh.) So, if for no other reason, have your manuscript professionally edited and proofread so your readers won’t go onto forums and rip your book to shreds.
Never, ever assume your reader is stupid. They’ve just paid good money for your book. They’re used to reading well edited books, and they expect your book to be well edited too. If it isn’t, they will be disappointed at best. At worst they’ll feel like they’ve been ripped-off. They may write you a bad review, or they may go on-line to reader’s forums and point out your mistakes. Either way, your dirty laundry just got hung out to dry, and your career as an author may have come to an untimely end. That said, I’m going to paraphrase some of the avoidable errors I’ve seen mentioned in online forums.
- A leading lady gets into a Handsome Cab. (As opposed to a hansom cab. Perhaps the cab driver was handsome.)
- The leading man is locked in a dudgeon. (That must be where the threw the stupid prisoners. No doubt the others were locked in the dungeon.)
- He wrapped his arms around her waste. (Yuk! I’m seeing a really nasty visual here. Hopefully the next time he’ll wrap his arms around her waist.)
- During a sex scene he’s having an organism. (There’s an interesting twist to a love scene. After his tryst is over he’ll need to see a doctor.)
- He would gather her up in his arts. What? You mean he put her body parts into his sculptures? Sounds like that old Vincent Price movie about the wax museum. I’d much prefer that he’d gathered her in his arms.)
What do all these faux paus have in common? According to the forum I was reading, they all came out of self-published books. Yes, it’s funny to us, but not so much to the authors who wrote them. What’s sad is that these are just a few of the kind of mistakes that a good editor will catch, and correct.
Still think you don’t need an editor? Well, if you don’t mind being laughed at on a public forum then maybe you don’t. However, if you want to be taken seriously as an author, and if you want your book to be successful, you’d better find yourself a good editor.