If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re thinking of self-publishing. You’ve spent hours writing. You’re proud of your work, but nervous about how it will be received. You’ve spent time revising and polishing when you could have been doing other things. You’ve already paid out for a professionally designed book cover. You really need to start making some money on this project. So you don’t need the extra expense of an editor do you? Well, yes, you probably do.
You’ve written your masterpiece. You’ve had family and friends read it; they’ve pointed out a few typos but have told you it’s wonderful and that you should publish. So that’s what you do next, right? Well, possibly. If your friends and family are completely impartial and will tell you the honest truth. And if you are completely sure that you’ve managed to catch every typo and grammatical error in your copy. And if you’re one hundred per cent sure that there’s nothing that can be improved, corrected and enhanced by a completely impartial, professional eye. By someone who edits as their job and whose reputation depends on how well they do that job.
You need an editor because you won’t catch every error. You will be so close to your words, so familiar with them that your eyes will pass over mistakes like typos and missing words. Your brain will read what it expects to read. You need the fresh eye of an impartial editor to break this cycle, to read what is actually there.
This closeness also means that, not only will you not see all the typos and grammatical errors (and there will be lots of those), but you will be too invested in your work to see it impartially. You know your characters and your plot inside out. You know the sequence of events and why and how things happen. And this is where the problem lies. You can’t ‘un-know’ all of that, so you can’t see the flaws in plot, in structure, in characterisation. You can’t read your book from beginning to end the way a reader will. And if there are flaws and inconsistencies, if there is more than the odd typo, then your readers, if you publish without having had a thorough edit, will be happy to point them out in reviews.
I’m a self-published author. I understand how attached you are to your work. I know how horrible it is to send that work to someone else and have them criticise it, however constructively. However, I also know that this process is far less painful than sending your precious work out there, warts and all, to have those warts picked over by readers and reviewers.
So the question is not ‘can I afford to hire an editor?’ but ‘can I afford not to?’
I am a UK-based writer, editor and independent novelist. I love reading and I love to write. These are the two great passions of my life. Find out more about my editing services here. I am currently offering discounts to new clients – do get in touch to discuss how I can help you to make your book the best it can be. You can contact me here.
I had no idea just how much I needed an editor until I met you. In addition to all the services that you mentioned in your post, I had no idea 1) how different some items read from one side of the pond to the other, e.g. references to healthcare insurance and colloquialisms and 2) how easy it is to get vocabulary words mixed up, especially homophones and how those mix-ups can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Thank you for your expertise!
You’re welcome Helen and thank you for taking the time to comment – it was a pleasure to edit your manuscript 🙂