Most writers start off with a limited budget, which means, they are often editing their own work to save costs on hiring an editor. But is that the correct thing to do? The answer is NO.
The reason: most people will read what they expect to see when it comes to their own work. In other words, when you re-read your work, you will read it the way you’ve intended for the words to be translated to your readers, because you are the one who knows what this translation is. It’s similar to the concept of creating your own language, you are really the only one who knows what the words mean; whether or not that’s what it is portrayed to your readers is a completely different story.
Because the way you try to evoke emotion may be different from how the reader is affected, having editor on deck is the most invaluable thing you can do for the advancement of your book. An outside person can read your manuscript and interpret the way it’s written as opposed to the way you intended for it to be written. However, before handing your gem to just anyone claiming to be an editor, you have to protect yourself and your work.
As the copyright office expects (and prefers) for you to issue the best version of your manuscript for copyrighting, you will most likely have to do this after it’s been edited, which means the copy you hand over is not protected.
Research online for competent editors, and then research their associated acquaintances; previous employment, projects, and authors they’ve worked with. After researching them for good references, do the same for any publishing companies they have worked with in the past to see if they are reputable. This is also why I always recommend hiring a literary agent who can source you with a match.
Aside from catching the things that are wrong with your manuscript, a good editor can help you hone your skills so that you can adapt to a particular style and not be “all over the place”.
Will having an editor increase my chances of being published?
Yes, it will. Editors are well connected; they know many literary agents and have worked with various publishers in the past. A good editor will be able to introduce you to these parties, and if not, always keep in mind that publishers like to see that an author is willing to put in the hard work to sell their manuscript; this includes hiring and paying for an editor out-of-pocket.
“many writers want to publish a book not because they want to be an author, but because they want to have “been” an author.”
So once that manuscript hits their desk and they see in print that you’ve taken the time to hire an editor, they will be more inclined to believe that you are serious about your book and being an author. Why do i say this? Because many writers want to publish a book not because they want to be an author, but because they want to have “been” an author. In other words, they don’t have any intention on continuing to write and build a brand, but want at least one published piece under their belt for their resume.
Now that you know why hiring an editor is a good idea, don’t hesitate to contemplate it as a possibility or take it to offense that you may need one.
© C. J. Leger February 16, 2015 http://www.CJLeger.com