Editing Will Make or Break Your Book Success
The Associated Press headline was quickly pulled down, but not before finding its way into thousands of newspapers worldwide. Somebody at the editor’s desk missed the word “tycoon,” which should have read “typhoon.” Oops.
We all make mistakes, which is why smart authors hire an outside editor to review their book manuscript before it goes to a publisher. The savvy editor not only draws upon his or her own experience but also utilizes other applications. One of the best is Grammarly, which not only catches spelling errors but also flags awkward wording, dropped words, and incorrect words or phrases.
An editor does more than just correct improper grammar, dropped words, or awkward phrasing. An astute editor will spot weak storylines, poor character development, timeline issues, and narrative gaps. Your editor sees through the reader’s eyes and asks questions the reader would ask as they read your manuscript. For example, suppose you suddenly introduce a character without explanation. In that case, your editor will want you to develop that character, because the reader will be asking, “who is this person, and why are they important to the story?” I’ve read too many manuscripts that lost me by page two, due to rambling storylines, undeveloped characters, holes in the plot, and a dysfunctional “feel” to the narrative.
Another great tip, which I learned during my radio career: Read your text out loud. When reading silently, our brains automatically fill in dropped words or skim by spelling errors. However, reading your copy out loud catches these errors, and also helps you find awkward phrasing. Yes, you will feel self-conscious reading out loud at first, but you will quickly get used to it. And, it will be worth it when you discover you accidentally wrote “pubic” in place of “public” in your manuscript! Been there, done that!
Some clients hire me to ghostwrite their books because they don’t have the time or inclination to do so. While I utilize all the techniques I’ve just described, I also employ an outside editor to review my work. It is a truism that you simply stop seeing errors after looking at the same piece of copy multiple times. Bringing in a second pair of eyes helps catch mistakes you may have overlooked, and in the end, the client gets a better product.
Danger, Will Robinson…One word of caution: There are many online services where you can find editors. However, you should beware of “writing mills,” such as Fiverr or Upwork, where editors bid on projects. While some good editors are on these sites, many of these editors do not speak English as their first language. Many also work for ridiculously low rates of one to five cents a word. Don’t be fooled! A professional editor should charge you anywhere from $25 to $60 an hour according to the 2020 Writer’s Market Guide. As with anything else in life, you get what you pay for.
Who Needs an Editor, When I Can Self-Publish? “I don’t need an editor, because I can write and publish my book on Amazon,” one prospective client told me. He is correct; nowadays, anyone can be a “published author” on Amazon and add that to their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles or resume. However, many of these books are poorly written with little to no editing, which is ultimately reflected in poor sales or critical reviews.
The bottom line is that your book needs to be well-written and professionally edited to stand out in the marketplace. Take the time and spend the money to hire someone to polish your manuscript and make it shine. Your editor will help you strengthen your plot, develop the characters, tell a compelling story, and keep the reader turning the page. Isn’t that what you want for your labor of love?
If I can help you on the journey toward publishing your book, please reach out to me today. What do you have to lose?
Dave Ficere is an Author, Editor, and Ghostwriter with over 30 years of experience in broadcasting and writing. When Dave is not writing and editing manuscripts for clients, you can typically find him narrating and producing audiobooks.
To learn more about Dave, visit him on LinkedIn.
“Bringing Your Story to Life” is more than just a tagline at Ficere Writing Solutions. We provide clients with top-notch writing, editing, and audiobook services to get your book or audiobook ready to publish. Our portfolio of services includes Ghostwriting books, editing book manuscripts, and narration and production of audiobooks.
To learn more about how Ficere Writing Solutions can help you and your business, click HERE