Why You Should Have a Professional Edit Your Work
(Plus: The Different Types of Editors)
Editors. All the greats have worked with one. While editors and authors can clash in the process of writing and editing a book, the right editor can be your best friend—helping you develop and/or clean up your work to maximize its potential.
How else can an editor help get your work ready for publishing? Here are some more benefits of working with an editor:
They look at your work with a fresh pair of eyes.
You’ve probably looked at your manuscript a few dozen times now. While self-editing is essential for the first few drafts of your manuscript, writers can get so familiar with and attached to their work that it becomes difficult for them to look at it objectively.
Getting an editor means a new pair of eyes that can look at your writing, pinpoint what works and what doesn’t, and make suggestions for improvement. Developmental editors, for example, analyze elements like characterization, plot, pacing, etc., for fiction.
For non-fiction, a developmental editor will check if the content of the book is complete and appropriate for its intended audience. You don’t want to throw around a lot of jargon for a beginner’s textbooks, but it’s so easy sometimes to assume that your audience knows what you’re talking about. Editors help you avoid making that mistake.
They make sure your words match your message.
Good writing means clear writing. That’s true whether you’re writing an instructional textbook on building your own living room set, or a fantasy novel about elves and orcs. An editor looks objectively at your writing and makes sure that your intended readers will understand what you’re trying to say.
Content editors look at things like punctuation, word choice, and syntax, for example.
They know exactly how to phrase and punctuate a sentence. They can hack away at weak qualifiers and unnecessary adverbs to get straight to the meat of a scene.
If you get your work professionally edited, you get the best possible product.
Editors work really hard to make sure your book comes out exactly right.
Line editors look for grammatical errors, typos, inconsistencies, and other issues in your book.
Proofreaders are the last line of defense, making sure nothing slips through the cracks and your book stays as error-free as possible.
They save you a lot of time.
Like we mentioned in number 1, it’s perfectly natural and necessary for a writer to go through several drafts of their manuscript. But putting your manuscript in the hands of a capable editor when you’ve done all you can saves you a lot of time.
Editors will sit with your manuscript for several different rounds of editing; one for plot or structure, for example, and another for grammar. This frees you up to pursue perhaps another writing project or lets you spend some of your time building up your readership through social media.
They can save you money in the long run.
Professional editors would recommend that you first get an editorial assessment to help you figure out what kind of editing you need and when. Say a writer—let’s call him Arthur—purchases a line edit, figuring he’s done enough structural edits to his work. He sends his edited manuscript to his friend Bill, just to get his opinion. Bill says, “It’s a good book, Art, but there’s a matter of a plot hole in chapter five…”
Now Arthur has to change his book almost entirely, get a developmental edit (which costs money), and another line edit when it’s done.
An editor not only fixes spelling and grammar errors. They help you hone your craft, and they save you time, trouble, and cash in the long run. The right editor is absolutely worth their weight in gold.