It’s a fairly prevalent message these days among both writers and readers: Writers need editors.
Except that among self-published authors, it seems to be more of a vague belief; sort of a that-doesn’t-apply-to-me concept. Ask just about any author, and they will tell you emphatically that “Yes! Every writer absolutely needs an editor!” And yet you will find that there are authors who, though they agree with this statement, either very obviously do not have an editor, or the editor they do have has no idea what they are doing. In other words, every time a reader picks up a self-published book, they run the risk that what they’re about to read will be rife with grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
You could have the very best idea for a story, and completely miss the opportunity of a lifetime if that story is poorly written.
Skeptical? Check out this article that is especially targeted at self-published authors. If you have a few minutes, also take a look at this article that gives a lot of good details about what an editor will do for you, or this personal account of the necessity of having a good editor.
Why do I bring this up? Well, simply put, I’m kind of tired of seeing self-pubbed authors getting a bad generic name as being poor writers.
If you are an author who is self-published, are you tired of your books being judged by the poorly written books of others?
You should be.
If you’re still not convinced, I give you, without further ado…
FIVE REASONS SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS NEED AN EDITOR
1. Capability. As we’ve already touched on, self-published authors are widely viewed as incapable. Many see self-publication as a “last ditch effort” to get a book into print when the author has been repeatedly rejected by a “real” publisher. When you list an editor in your book’s credentials, you help your book overcome the negative assumptions that were placed on it before you even published it. When a reader sees that your book has an editor, it shows them that their concerns that they’ve just picked up a poorly written first draft may be unfounded.
2. Credibility. Even though self-publication is growing in popularity, it still takes time to build up a reputation for yourself as an author; and if you don’t have the name of a publishing house on the back of your book, that’s just one extra hurdle toward convincing readers that your book is worth taking a second (or first!) look at. Showing that your book has been professionally edited tells readers that you know what you’re doing as a writer, and gives the reassurance that you took the time to prepare a professional book for your reader.
3. Correctness. You might be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King as far as the story ideas you have developed, but unless you’re E.L. James, chances are, your book is going nowhere if the grammar, spelling, and punctuation aren’t impeccable and the sentence structure, flow, and consistencies aren’t well-implemented. (And if your goal actually is to be the next bestseller of a poorly written book, well… that’s your prerogative I guess.)
4. Confirmation. You might actually be a whiz at grammar and all the rest, but I’ll let you in on a secret: no one is perfect. It’s totally worth the cost of an editor to make sure that your work is pristine. And bonus: they will probably find ways you didn’t even think of to help improve your book overall.
5. Confidence. You will be amazed how professional you will feel after finishing that final draft when you’ve been able to put an editor’s name on your book. Now you’re not only a published author, but you’re a published author with an editor. Your book is polished and professional.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Please share them below!