Do you really need to hire an editor?
You’ve probably heard me say it before, but it bears repeating: Every book should be thoroughly edited, and if you plan to sell your book, then it is critical to have it professionally edited.
Yet many people balk at acquiring editor for one of two reasons: either they feel they are competent enough to edit it themselves or they simply don’t see the value of paying for an editor.
Here’s what they’re not taking into consideration.
Technology vs. Humans
Most writers today understand that there are limitations to Microsoft Word’s internal spellcheck and grammar check. For example, it can’t infer the meaning of your sentence in order to know whether you should be using the word “to” or “too” or “two.” Even the latest technology such as Grammarly isn’t foolproof. Although it’s beneficial for emails and blog posts, relying exclusively on technology for editing a full-length book is not ideal.
It can also be tempting to edit your own work, especially if you’re a previously published author, an English professor/high school teacher, or a professional editor by trade. The danger with this decision, however, is that you know your story inside and out. Without even realizing it, you begin to skim the content and fail to analyze it critically.
For example, perhaps you made a last-minute cut-and-paste change, but you forgot to change the pronouns or verb tense to match the surrounding text. Maybe you accidentally duplicated a word. Or maybe you conducted research and discovered that your dates were incorrect, but you only changed them in one chapter and not the entire manuscript.
If you’re self-publishing, if you’re tired of reading the manuscript for the millionth time, or if you’re hurrying to get it published by a certain date, then these types of mistakes may not be noticed by you until after publication.
Avoid this painfully embarrassing experience. Hire a professional editor.
The Value of an Editor
As for the second argument – not valuing the cost of an editor – I maintain that you simply can’t afford not to hire one. Small inconsistencies and mistakes, if published, reflect poorly on you as an author. Not only will you be embarrassed, but it will more than likely affect your bottom line as well.
Most readers will overlook one or two minor errors, but if your book contains multiple misspellings, poor grammar and/or factual inconsistencies, they probably won’t finish reading it. And guess what? If they don’t like one of your books, they probably won’t read any of your other work, either.
Also, don’t overlook the power of reviews – both written and verbal. People love to talk about and recommend their favorite things, including books. In turn, they tend to warn people away from their least favorite things. This happens face-to-face, on the phone, and on social media. The latter is where their opinions can quickly gain traction – one or two friends share the review on Facebook or Twitter, and soon, hundreds (if not thousands) of other people have seen it.
Thus, even if you’re writing about the hottest topic on the market today, if it’s poorly edited, people won’t buy or recommend your book, which means you’re not making money.
As you can see, the cost of an editor is worth every penny in the long run.
In the next post, I’ll discuss the different types of editors, which ones you need…and when. In the meantime, be sure to download my free Author Resource List, which shares 5 free tools to help you write and promote your book.