Friday, October 04, 2019

Writing: Is An Editor Important?

It's hard to get used to calling myself a "hybrid" author. Such a strange term--like I'm half-man, half-beast or something. What it really means, of course, is that I've had books published by royalty-paying publishers and self-published (or "indie," for independent) books.  As an author who has indie-published, a question I'm often asked is, "If you publish a manuscript independently, is it necessary to employ an editor?" That's a valid question. After all, you've written what you consider the greatest book in the world (well, maybe not the greatest--but you think it's ready to publish). Why spend the money on an editor?

I asked a number of multi-published authors this question: "Do you use an editor, even when you're going to indie publish the manuscript." The response was unanimous. "Yes." I got comments like "I wouldn’t dream of publishing without having the manuscript edited first!" and "I'd never think of publishing something that's not professionally edited". Someone whom I respect in the publishing field and who now publishes only independently uses a person whose judgment they trust as a beta-reader and for developmental editing, then uses an outside editor for copy-editing and proof-reading. Incidentally, I do the same.

So, there you have it. It's not a large series, but I think it's indicative of what authors feel and do. Don't fail to use a professional editor (and the same goes for cover design), even when you publish independently. You'll be glad you spent the money. 

What are your thoughts on the subject?


Lora D said...

As a professional editor, I wholeheartedly agree!! It's obvious when someone doesn't use an editor, and it's hard to read books with wrong words, missing punctuation, confusing wording, etc. There is a multi-published, famous Christian author who I kept hearing raving reviews about. His first book was free, so I got it. When I read it, it was FULL of errors. I started highlighting them, and there were over 250 errors! That's completely unacceptable. He could easily have someone correct them for him (I wrote to him, but he didn't reply). There are thousands of books for readers to choose from today, so if you're a writer you need put out the most professional, polished book. You want to KEEP readers buying your books, not trip over errors and toss your work aside. You want them to give you good reviews & recommend your books to others. Right? Then your books have to be excellent in every way.

Priscilla Bettis said...

I think an outside editor is essential. You can tell when you're reading a book if it hasn't been edited. As a reader, I don't need perfection. I can pass over some typos and so forth here and there, but when the unedited mistakes get to be too numerous, I DNF the book, and I'm not likely to buy another from that author.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Lora, for "voting" with me and several other published authors on this. We keep preaching to others about this, but they may or may not listen.

Richard Mabry said...

Priscilla, your comment makes my point. It's true--we only have one chance to make a good impression.