What Will A Good Editor Do For Your Book?

By on May 2, 2017
What Will A Good Editor Do For Your Book? - Writer's Life.org

Many self-published authors find it difficult to decide whether to hire a book editor to go through their manuscript before they publish. On the one hand, it seems like a good idea and will hopefully ensure your book is in the best possible shape it can be before you set it free, on the other it can seem like a waste of money - there is no requirement to have your book professionally edited after all, so why bother?

Of course, as with anything, there are different levels of service that you can request. Some book editors will simply read your book and alert you to any obvious errors. Others will give you a hugely in-depth analysis of your novel and make numerous suggestions including ones around plot, structure, characterisation and language.

Understanding the role of an editor and what a good editor can do for your book is important. If you are clear on what they can and can't do for you then you can then research and hire an editor that offers you what you want for your book.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what a good book editor can do.

Your editor will notice the phrases you repeat over and over again in your manuscript (ones that you have become totally blind to).
Your editor will help make your manuscript grammatically flawless, as well as correct any punctuation and spelling mistakes.
Your editor will make comment on your plot and help you to solve any parts where you are struggling and can’t see a way out.
You editor will be honest with you about where you need to change parts of your book, where bits aren’t working, and how you can improve your book overall.
You editor will help you to ‘kill your darlings.’
Your editor will provide support and encouragement and help you to believe that you are a gifted writer and that your book is one worth reading.
Your editor will tell you if your book is not ready, and why.
Your editor will tell you when your characters thoughts, speech or actions don’t make any sense.
Your editor will find any inconsistencies in your book and suggest how you can amend them.
Your editor will point out when your descriptions need to be more lively
Your editor will tell you when your writing is cliched.

Since we’re on the subject, it’s also important to understand what an editor can’t do.

Your editor cannot be expected to offer any guarantees about the number of books you sell.
Your editor can’t put the time and effort that is required into crafting a novel on your behalf.
Your editor can’t force you to listen to them.
Your editor can’t make your book perfect.
Your editor won’t have all the answers when your book gets rejected.
Your editor can’t be expected to be at your beck and call 24/7.

Hiring an editor for a self-published book, or indeed a book you are trying to get accepted by a mainstream publisher is usually a wise idea. If you want your book to be the best it can possibly be, having a professional offer their opinion, wisdom and expertise is only going to help.

So if you are thinking of hiring an editor for your book, decide in what capacity you would like them to work with you, and then you can find the right editor for you.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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