Why Authors Need Editors

Are you a writer, or even an author? Do you plan on writing a book or have a book already? If yes, then fantastic! Now here’s why you need an editor.

Hey gang, hope you’re all doing well. I’m coming to you again with another of my writing tips, and that is, you need to get yourself an editor. Why? Because trust me, they’ll help you become the best version of your writing self you can be.

In this post, I’ll discuss what editing actually entails, why it’s important, where you can find an editor, and how much one usually costs.

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Now I for one thought I could do it alone. Writing a novel that is. I did the research, read the books in my genre and even paid for online courses. I was ready to publish, wasn’t I? Well if I knew then what I know now, I may have saved myself the embarrassment of receiving my first editorial critique, and boy did it hit me hard!

But first, I want to tell you about the three main types of edits an editor can offer you, which ones are most suitable, and which type of edit you should choose first. The first is a Developmental Edit, the second a Line Edit, and the third, a Copy Edit.

The Developmental Edit

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Once you’ve finished your novel (yippee) it’s time to get a valid, honest and thorough critique on your masterpiece. Or more accurately, masterpiece to-be. For writers, this is most likely the most important, and sometimes the most hard hitting part of the writing process.

A Developmental Edit is designed to examine your manuscript and mercilessly critique what you as the writer would otherwise have not noticed, such as Characterisation, Story Development, Plot Development, Story Structure, Tone, Plot Holes and a whole lot of other seriously important novel elements.

Believe me, this is an edit that you really should invest in, especially if you want to take your writing career seriously!

This is generally the first type of edit you will want to invest in. Not only will it help you craft a better novel from the critique you receive, but it will teach you valuable novel writing lessons for your next projects.

This type of edit will also require you to change a lot of the original manuscript, maybe even rewrite the whole thing. Sounds terrifying, right? Yeah, it totally was for me, and to be honest, I literally cowered away for a few days, thinking I was the worst writer on the planet. But don’t fear, for it will inevitably sculpt your overall talent and make you a far better writer, with a bonus of having a much better novel.

My first novel, Everscape: The Wings of Embra, I had finished believing I had created something magnificent. It was my first novel, and the idea of actually finishing the thing made me think I was invincible. Only to have an Editor bring me back down to Earth, snap me out of it, and steer me in the right direction.

The Line Edit

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Once you have received your Developmental Edit from your chosen editor, examined the critique, implemented the recommendations into your manuscript, perhaps rewritten the entire thing and finally made the overall novel far better than it ever had been, then it may be time to get a Line Edit.

A Line Edit is different to a Developmental Edit in the fact it is more of a change to your writing style as appose to just a thorough critique. The Line Edit is where your chosen editor will actually examine your prose and word choice, as well as rearrange the sentence and paragraph structure to create a more fluid experience for your reader. Like a beautiful flowing river.

A line Edit will generally look for issues in awkward dialogue, overused words, strange sentence structure and cliche word choices.

A Line Edit is a superb choice for authors who are confident with their story and plot and are looking for an editor to help make their voice really stand out, as well as give the reader a comfortable reading experience.

I for one never used a Line Edit when self-publishing my first novel, Everscape. Though it’s something I highly recommend and would definitely reconsider it had I had the finances to back up this decision. Having said that, it can all come down to your own confidence in your voice style, something I was pretty confident in.

The Copy Edit

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Probably the most well known type of edit out there. A copy edit essentially is a thorough and professional grammar check. It’s an edit that should not be sneered at. Whilst some writers believe their writing to be impeccable, that being spelling, punctuation and grammar, it is still a good idea to have a qualified professional view your manuscript and perform this kind of edit.

The Copy Edit is more of a technical-level examination of your manuscript, ensuring it adheres to an industry standard level of presentation. This is placed as the third edit because it really should be classed as the last stage to touch your manuscript. No other edit should be done after the Copy Edit, as the next stage is usually the publication process.

Like the Line Edit, I for one never used a Copy Editor to proofread my first manuscript. If like me you choose Self-Publication, these types of edits will have to come out of your own pocket, and they can be very expensive to someone who is breaking into the industry by themselves. Traditional Publishers, if that’s a route you want to pursue, will most likely have their own Copy Editors in-house, and will ensure this process is carried out on your behalf.

Cost and Location

In terms of locating an editor and how much it will cost, these things can vary greatly. Do you want an independent editor? Or would you be more comfortable with an editing team from an editing company?

By performing a quick Google search, an editor can be found pretty easily, especially since this kind of service is likely to be via online these days anyway. But you can always opt for a local editing service by specifying your location within a search engine.

I for one went with an online freelance editor I found on YouTube. For any aspiring writer, your may have heard of Ellen Brock, a superb editor I’ve had a great time working with with two of my novels, now. Check out her YouTube channel for some of her amazing writing tips.

The process was easily done via email, firstly by stating my manuscript’s word count, receiving a quote, sending over the manuscript via email, then paying the PayPal quote and waiting the specified time for the edit to be completed.

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These editors will also always have a menu of services they provide, such as Developmental, Line or Copy, including various degrees of these edits depending on your editing goals or budget.

As budget and cost goes, this can vary immensely depending on the service you’re after. Some editing services charge by the hour, whilst some charge by the manuscript’s word count. Bare in mind however, that with this cost you’ll have to see it as an investment, so by saying that, don’t shy away from the price.

Of course, do your research for the best deals, and opt for smaller editing packages if you feel like the full editing services are too expensive. Bare in mind though, that should you find an editor or editing company who’s portfolio you admire and have a lot of trust in, that their services will be worth every penny.

Editing can be a daunting part of the the writing process. But as I’ve stated throughout this post, it’s so vital to both the health and success of your manuscript, but more importantly your ability to perform as a professional writer who is happy to accept they still have much to learn and are happy to constantly improve their craft.

What about you? Do you have any editing stories or tips you want to share? Did you edit alone or did you have help? Let’s have a discussion in the comments. x

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