I Can Edit My Own Book, Can't I?
I am an editor. As such, people often ask me what I do. A lot of people believe that editors are proofreaders, finding mistakes before your finished novel or non-fiction manuscript goes to print (or Kindle). And while this is partially true, editors do a whole heck of a lot more than that! Editors are the unsung heroes of literature. They ride through the night, saving authors and writers from embarrassment and the terrible "Why would anyone buy this book?" feeling that's so pervasive in the first-time author community.
First-time authors frequently choose to skip the editing process, opting instead for a read-through by a friend (or several) to find mistakes. There are plenty of reasons why this makes sense. Editors are expensive. If you're a struggling novelist, it can be hard to justify handing over hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars to someone you don't know so they can perform a process you don't quite understand. It's also sort of overwhelming to find an editor. There are SO MANY! How do you pick one? Best to just skip it, right?
Without further ado, here is what editors do (and why you should absolutely hire one).
1. Editors are highly trained readers and kickass proofreaders! They can spot mistakes better than your friends because they look at words for a living. You know Hawkeye from The Avengers? Editors are like that, but with typos.
2. Editors know what good writing (and bad writing) looks like. And (this is the awesome part!) they can take your poorly written sentences, keep the same meaning, and make them sound great! Those boring sentences that your brain sort of skims when you read through your manuscript will magically become magnetic.
3.Editors know grammar rules (and when to break them). This is an important distinction. You don't want to misuse words, use wonky sentence structure, or have a bunch of picky readers criticizing your work on message boards and other deep dark places of the Internet (I'm looking at you, Facebook). But there are times when breaking grammatical rules is not only ok but necessary to make your point. Editors know how to distinguish between the two.
4. Editors are your friendly, neighborhood sounding boards. Trying to rework a paragraph because it seems out of place? Leave it to the editor. Wondering if you need better subtitles, chapter names, or even a book title? Editors can help! Editors are also skilled in a lot of other random areas. If you're first starting the writing process, you can hire a developmental editor to actually help you come up with the plot and character development. Personally, I offer my clients additional services like website creation, enticing "gimme, gimme" back cover copy, and social media marketing.
5. We're super nice people! We have magical powers, know all the lyrics to the songs you want to learn, and can provide comfort and advice when you want to throw your book (or computer) across the room and give up writing forever. (I may have slightly exaggerated earlier. Certainly, we don't know ALL the songs you want to learn...)
Editing isn't cheap. And choosing the right editor for your project is time-consuming. But once you find the right editor, THEY WILL SAVE YOU SO MUCH TIME AND FRUSTRATION! You'll be able to form a professional relationship and work with them on all your future projects. They'll get to know your writing style and offer insight that you never knew you desperately needed.
Trust me: it's worth it. And if you don't trust me, here are some things my clients have said after working with me:
"Hiring Nicole to edit my 75,000-word manuscript and 7,500-word abbreviation of the manuscript was a great decision! Nicole performed a comprehensive edit to include: content cohesiveness, readability, grammar, and punctuation. She helped me clarify and sometimes simplify my thoughts. Nicole offered suggestions that I ended up incorporating to improve the overall quality of the manuscript. Working with Nicole was easy and enjoyable. I found her to be professional, prompt (often ahead of schedule) and responsive!"
"Nicole did a great job editing my e-book manuscript! She formatted, sanded rough edges, and helped the writing "flow." If you're looking for professional, timely work, I'd highly recommend Nicole."
"The best out there. I will not use anyone else but Nicole for all my editing, proofreading and marketing work." <---- See? Marketing? One of those added service situations :)
In short, I really, strongly, totally, completely, and emphatically believe that behind every great book is an intelligent editor.
Think I might be the right match for your project? Contact Me so we can chat!