The Importance of Editing in hcraven | World Anvil

The Importance of Editing

My opinions on editing, as it applies to novels and other manuscripts

The right editor can help you grow as a writer.
  Some people think of editing as a single step in the writing process. However, if you dig deeper, some services break this down into 2, 3, 4, or even 5 different steps, each step meriting a separate pass through the manuscript.   With a traditionally published book, a manuscript will go through several rounds of edits, usually with multiple editors.
  Essentially, my opinion is this: the more eyes on your work, the better. Of course our world makes sense to us. We made it. But there could very well be things that don't make sense to others. Similarly, our eyes might pass over our own typos and grammar errors much more readily than they do when reading work from other people.  
The more eyes on your work, the better.

Is self-editing sufficient?


I'm terrified of the editing process. What if my editor hates my work?

Professional editors are not attempting to be mean or denigrate you or your manuscript. Even if they pick out several issues and suggest deleting your most beloved character, they are simply trying to help improve your readability.   Try to separate yourself from your work. The right editor can really help you grow as a writer.   Still nervous? Ask a prospective editor questions before hiring them. Suggest an actual conversation, perhaps over the phone or via messaging. This may help put your mind at ease and give you insight on whether or not your personalities mesh.  

I've already enlisted the help of beta readers. Isn't that good enough?

Maybe. Maybe not. Beta readers are great, and it can be invaluable to get the input of a range of readers. They can help spot confusing sentences or unexplained elements.   However, your beta readers may not necessarily be the most skilled at all the steps of editing your work may need. Are they addressing pacing, characters, plot lines and plot holes, syntax, grammar, etc.? Are they giving you helpful feedback or just saying, "I don't like it"? (It's okay to fire your beta readers!)

Is a single editor sufficient?

Sometimes. Sometimes a single editor can do several rounds of editing. Sometimes developmental edits are not so extensive that the editing can't be done in a single pass. However, most editors will have a specific type of editing they excel at while they may be a bit weaker in other areas of editing (e.g., some may be great at content editing and not so great at proofreading).  

I've already hired an editor. Shouldn't my manuscript be ready to publish?

Maybe. Maybe not. Again, there are different types of editing. And especially after rewriting sections, another pass might spot more issues/errors.   And as for proofreading, you may be tempted to skip this or to rely on your spellchecker. If you do this, bear in mind that even the best spellcheckers and grammar checkers don't always get it right. Readers are usually willing to overlook a typo or two. I've spotted some in even the most popular, traditionally published novels.   However, too many typos or confusing sentences and you risk losing a substantive portion of readers, and worse yet, possible repeat customers.  

What do I do if I don't agree with all my editor's suggestions?

Well, they are just that: suggestions. As the author, you have the right and responsibility to determine which edits you accept and which you do not, especially if you are self- or independently publishing. It is still your work.

Do I really have to use an editor or a proofreader, or both?

Not necessarily. There is a growing group of independent authors, specifically on Kindle Unlimited, who firmly believe in the notion of the Minimum Viable Product and that it is perfectly applicable to novels and novellas. These authors tend to focus on quantity, and so long as their readers tolerate it, they opt for minimal editing.   It is up to you to determine what type of product you wish to offer.
Ultimately, the choice is entirely yours as to how many rounds of edits your manuscript receives and how many of those steps you hire an editor to do. Your manuscript may or may not need each editing step.   Interested in hiring a freelance line editor and proofreader?
Editing Services
Generic article | Jun 8, 2022

Line-by-line editing and polishing of your manuscript

Cover image: by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay


Author's Notes

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