One of the first questions I ask an author.
Was your book professionally edited? I thought this was a given – You write, you edit, you proofread and you publish. But the truth is, many self-published authors often skip this step due to the cost. And this will cost you. But if you do decide to skip this step, it could cost you more in sales.
Here are my top reasons for hiring a professional book editor.
- You’re too close to your work. Your book was in your head before you put your hands to the keyboard. Then you wrote it. Then you read it. And then you read it again, and again, and again. You know what you’re trying to say, but because you’re so close to it, your brain will literally fill in what you were thinking or wanted to say. Think of those backward memes you see on Facebook – if you can read this you are a genius. No, it’s the predictive nature of our brains. It fills in the gaps for us.
- You have something to learn. Every one of us can learn from our mistakes and improve our craft. An editor will help you to grow as a writer. Accept your editorial critique and learn from it for your next book. Remember, this isn’t personal. This is publishing.
- Industry experience. Experienced book editors have been where you haven’t and can help you to format your book according to industry standards. Your editor will want you to present your best work.
- You may be a writer, but you’re probably not an editor. And that’s okay. Again, you want to present your best work. An editor knows more than just grammar and punctuation – she/he will also help with style, attribution and organization.
- Sales. Readers don’t buy bad books. All you need are a few bad reviews to tank book sales. It can be tough to get good reviews, but bad reviews… not so much. This can follow you with later work too. And it’s such a simple fix – hire an editor.
It’s important to note that there are different levels of editing. Naturally, the more work required, the higher the cost. You may have an incredible idea that needs work organizing and writing. Or you may just need a light polish. Either way, it’s all in your best interest.
Don’t forget to proofread, again. And again. And again. The Amish purposely leave one small mistake in every quilt they sew because they believe that only God is perfect. While that may be true, it’s still a good idea to proofread well and proofread often to avoid any mistakes. There will always be that one reader who finds that one mistake and decides to mention it in your Amazon review. Ask your editor about proofreading.
Finally, seek quotes from several editors. It’s important that you find the right editor. If you’ve written a book on economics, you don’t want a fiction editor. If you’ve written a Christian non-fiction, you’ll want to find an experienced editor of Christian non-fiction who understands the style requirements. If the cost is more than you expect, it might be best to put off your new book until you’re ready. It’s best to not rush to production before your work is ready.
I’ve really just touched on a few top reasons to hire an editor. There are literally hundreds of blogs and articles out there on this same subject. Authors, I’d love to hear about your book editing experiences. Editors, I’d love to hear your advice for new authors. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to post them below or email me. And if we’re not already connected on LinkedIn, let’s connect.