A common misconception about editors is that their job is to correct your grammatical mistakes—they fix commas and misspellings and maybe add some semicolons here and there to make you look smart.
Editors indeed do all of the above, but they are also experts at looking for things you may have never thought about while writing your manuscript, and this extends beyond grammar.
So why should I hire an editor? Can’t I do these things by myself?
You can, but…you shouldn’t, and we’ll tell you why. Here are the top reasons why you should hire an editor to edit that newly drafted manuscript:
Save Yourself from Fatal Mistakes
When we say “fatal mistakes,” we don’t mean missing a comma or two in your draft. Although commas are important, killer mistakes are those errors that destroy your credibility as an author. Editors save you by pointing out gaps in your logical argument or holes you may have missed in your plot. They help make your published book more coherent, polished, and pleasurable for the reader, and they leave no space for anyone to point out plot holes or illogical statements.
For example, sometimes authors tend to elaborate too much, either in a world-building effort or simply retelling a story. Editors can pinpoint these kinds of mistakes that could potentially lose your reader’s attention. They can recommend what to cut out to streamline your writing or change to prevent boredom. This goes way beyond just catching spelling errors or grammatical mistakes, which is the job of a proofreader.
Achieve Phenomenal Writing
Editors are also capable of taking your work to the next level. They can point out redundancy—when you unconsciously use the same word too many times. Some authors may struggle to clearly express their characters’ emotions, or they may tend to lose track of what they’ve already written and either repeat it or contradict it.
Editors can help you by recommending the best and most precise words to make your writing smoother and more expressive. You’d be surprised at the leap in quality work makes after editing.
Offer Objective Feedback
Editors are the ones you can count on the most when it comes to valuable and objective feedback. You see, authors get too attached and too close to their work, having read it so many times that they can’t see it from an outside perspective anymore. This makes it difficult for authors to find any faults or points of potential improvement in their own writing.
However, when you work with an editor, you are inviting someone who will not hold back to collaborate with you. Now it’s a team effort, and your editor gives the facts to you straight. They don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but their criticism is extremely valuable when you’re figuring out what to do to further improve upon your beloved work.
What if you are the type who can look at your own work objectively? Then surely self-editing will be enough, right? Well, you could try that, but the time and effort you will spend doing it yourself—all while not being 100 percent confident of your work—is not worth all the money you would save.
So why exhaust yourself with no certainty that your work is completely polished?
To be clear, self-editing is important too; however, it is not a 100 percent alternative to hiring a qualified editor.
Last but not least, perhaps the most underrated reason for hiring an editor:
It’s a common mistake to assume that a publishing company will see your unedited work and simply hire an editor to fix it for you. The truth is, if your work is too rough when you submit it to a publisher, it may never see the light of the printing press.
Therefore, always put your best work forward when it’s time to query the publishing company. The only way to do this is by hiring an editor and letting them bring out the best in your book.
An editor isn’t someone to fear. Rather, think of them as professional reader who wants to help you make your book it’s very best. They do not want to put you down or inject their own ideas into your book. Instead, they want to make you look good! The editor considers your best interests so that your book will stand a better chance of getting published and into the hands of your waiting audience.