Alright, alright. I know what you’re thinking. “Um, Sara, of course you are going to say we all need to hire freelance editors. YOU ARE A FREELANCE EDITOR.” That may be true, but actually I am so busy with the clients I already have and my own writing that I am not taking on any new clients at this time so I don’t have any ulterior motives. 😉
I read a lot of self-published books. I browse the free e-books daily, I read the work from my self-published clients, and I sample a wide range of self-published books. I like to see what’s out there. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing a self-published book that has obviously not been edited.
Many self-published authors get impatient. They have cranked out a rough draft and they get excited and publish it before it’s ready because they can’t wait to start selling copies. I understand this excitement. However, writing a first draft is just the first step in the writing process, and revising/rewriting is another important step that an editor will assist you with. Here are a few reasons you should hire an editor:
1. An editor is essential if you want your book to be the best it can be. There are generally two phases of editing. In the first phase, an editor will evaluate plot, character development, structure, and the overall strengths and weaknesses of the story. He or she will give you feedback on how you can strengthen the story, and then it’s up to you to revise and make it the best it can be. You may need to repeat this process a number of times. In the second phase, once you’ve taken care of all of the “bigger” things, he or she will make sure you don’t have any typos, correct your spelling/grammar mistakes, etc. If you want your book to be the best that it can be, it’s important to go through these two steps.
2. Editors make you look more professional. If a reader opens a self-published book and sees an “edited by” credit, he or she will understand that this writer is serious enough about his or her writing to invest time and money into making it better. Readers don’t want to read first drafts anymore than you want to see unedited footage when you go to the movie theater.
3. Many readers will sample the first few pages of your book before they commit to purchasing or reading it. An editor will make sure the sample makes them want to keep reading. If a reader opens the sample of your book on Amazon and sees that the first page isn’t formatted properly, there are three typos, and you use the wrong verb tense in your second paragraph, they are likely to close it out and go onto the next book.
4. Self-published authors compete with traditionally published authors who all have professional editors. When you pick up a book in the book store, you expect it to be properly formatted with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. You expect that a lot of time went into revising and polishing to make the final product a quality product. So many people scoff at self-published authors because they don’t necessarily expect this of them. Proove these skeptics wrong by taking the same amount of time in the editing and revision process as the traditionally published authors.
5. An editor may be able to offer you more exposure. If your editor really likes your book, he or she may link to it on his or her social media or website. If you have a good editor with a lot of contacts, a positive endorsement can mean a lot of traffic for you and potentially sales.
So next time you finish the last sentence of your manuscript and rush over to Amazon to upload it, you might want to pause, take a breath, and take the time that you need to polish your manuscript. Getting outside, objective help from a professional will make all of the difference.