(This is a photo I previously used from Unsplash, and I apologize that I cannot find the name of the photographer who donated it this time, but I am thankful for the wonderful photographers who donate their great work on Unsplash so that I have a great place to find images to use with my blog posts.)
The Importance of a Good Editor
Sadly, no one responded to my plea for a topic for today, so I have had to decide what to post on. I hope that means you all find my topics helpful, but I really would love for you to let me know some writing topics you would like to see me cover because my hope is to really make this blog a place for me to interact with other writers, as well as readers, especially those who enjoy reading my writing, so that we can stay connected as I begin publishing my books.
So, today’s topic is in regard to editing. How many of you get distracted when you are reading a book and you suddenly come across errors in the writing, such as grammar, spelling, wrong word choice, confusing wording, etc? What about a problem in something like a mistake in a character’s name or description, the pace suddenly slowing to a degree where you find yourself losing interest, a mistake in the timeline, etc.?
If you’re anything like me, these errors aren’t just distracting. I also find them frustrating, especially if they occur frequently throughout the book, and I begin to wonder if the writer had an editor take a look at their completed manuscript before publishing it.
Most of the books I find that have the most errors are those that have been self-published. However, I also find errors, though not nearly as many, in traditionally published books.
As a reader, I have been tempted to stop reading a few books because the errors were so prevalent.
As a book reviewer, I find it extremely difficult to give a book with a lot of errors a four or five star rating. It may be a story that has a great plot and some wonderfully engaging and well-developed characters, but the errors make it quite unpleasant to read.
So writers, take my advice. I know a good editor costs a good chunk of money, but, in the long run, they are well worth their cost, especially if you want to publish the best possible story you can, and if you truly value good book reviews–and we, writers, all know how important those are to our future books if we want to keep readers.
I can hear some of you now: “Well, I go over my manuscript three or four times line by line with a fine-tooth comb. It can’t possibly have that many errors within, by the time I publish it.” To which I would respond, “But how many errors do you find acceptable for your finished published work to have?”
I know that I read over my manuscript very carefully several times as well. However, I also have two great critique partners who then read over it, and they always find more things I need to correct.
You see, as we read our own manuscript, we read it with a bias and a kind of blind eye because we read it as we know what we expect it to say, and I think that’s why we miss some errors.
In closing, I want to encourage you to seek the help of an editor, with some guidelines: 1) don’t choose the cheapest editor you can find; 2) be sure the editor is someone you believe you will be able to work well with and who has the best interests of you AND your story in mind and at heart; and, 3) don’t work with someone who is unkind and harsh. A good editor points out errors and makes suggestions on ways to correct those errors without being harsh or cruel and without belittling you or your work. Instead, a good editor will encourage you and simply do their best to make your finished story the best it can be.
Does all of this mean your story will be published completely error free? Possibly, but there is no guarantee. After all, even the best editors are human and may miss a couple small errors. However, with the help of a good editor, the errors will be few and far between — enough so that your readers won’t want to put your book down and they will be more likely to give out not just a four or five star rating, but also a glowing written review!
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