You either have a “love it” or “hate it” relationship with editing.
I used to despise the process, but after getting into creative writing, I enjoy it. While I don’t like editing my non-fiction work, fiction editing somehow “feels” different to me. But still, I’m no editor, and yes, some of my emails are cringe worthy. But I digress. This isn’t about me. It’s about editing. I humbly bow to those writers and authors that either have expertise in the field or an innate editing eye, and easily pen a final project that “wows.”
Regardless, whatever you write—books, blogs, novels, and yes, emails—you need to edit.
And editing is best done by a fresh pair of peepers, preferably “expert eyes.” Yes, when all is said and done, there may be a few mistakes or slang expressions that will slide into the final prose from time to time, and that’s okay. Heck, I even read a book recently from one of the big three and found a typo. My point? We’re human. But like mom always says, “All anyone can ask of you is to try your best.”
Now to the “meat” in the compliment sandwich. Editing is an art. As stated before, it’s a must for all writers. Following my “we’re all human” qualifier, let me be clear—all good books have a great editor behind them. While you strive to put your best foot forward, consider investing in a pro. Ask any published author and they’ll agree, editing is best left to the editors, so you can focus on your creative craft.
As in every Author’s Journey, I now turn the mic over to fellow authors and editing experts for insights and advice…
“Like parenting, when you think your work is done, it’s not!” ~ Constance Hays Matsumoto, author of Of White Ashes and writer of stories about poetry intended to influence positive change in our world.
“Editing provides polish and adds credibility to written work. Errors in grammar and inconsistencies in a storyline can usurp even the most poignant novel. And the credibility of an author, business, or professional can certainly take a hit if their website or advertising is riddled with spelling errors. Some writers have made the misjudgment of skipping the editing step altogether, and they’ve categorically regretted it when the manuscript they’ve painstakingly written is published with glaring mistakes. It’s absolutely worth the time to find a knowledgeable, experienced, professional editor who has the expertise to fit the author’s needs and hone their voice without changing it.” ~ Sherian Brown, freelance copyeditor and proofreader for authors and publishers, including HarperCollins, Row House, and Zando.
“A simple technique I and others use, is to read the previous chapter from the previous day. (I write one chapter a day, usually.) As I read it, I edit it, tweak it, rearrange it, and sometimes throw it out. It does two things for me: 1. It helps in the overall editing of the work at the end of the draft; 2. It puts me in the mind, setting, and circumstance for what I’m about to write. I also use a tool that edits in real time as I write. It is ProWritingAid, and honestly, it is the best discovery I made since I began my writing journey.” ~ Joseph Lewis, Best Selling and Award Winning Author of Blaze In, Blaze Out and his new book, Fan Mail.
“Editing is critical in producing a readable and eye-catching document. As an author, you want your reader to escape in your book and not be distracted by typos or grammatical errors. As a professional freelance editor, I strive to ensure my client’s work shines and that they are proud of their final product. As someone who loves to read, I understand how important it is for a document to be well-edited and free from mistakes. It can be frustrating to try and escape into a story or article, only to be pulled out of it by typos and grammatical errors. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional editor who takes great pride in helping her clients produce polished and high-quality work. I provide freelance fiction editing services to writers who want to create something they can be truly proud of.” ~ Kourtney Schmiedeke, owner of Heartfelt Editorial Services LLC, providing freelance literary editing services for writers seeking support and guidance.
“Editing is VERY important. Readers will forgive a lot of things, but poor editing isn’t one of them. I met a writer once who used her audience to edit her books. In other words, she would put the book up for sale and then use the Amazon reviews to fix issues with her book. THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA! Think about it, do you want a doctor to remove your appendix who learned how to do surgery by reading reviews written by past surgical patients. NO. If you want to make writing your career, then treat it as a career and not a hobby. That means that you need to pay an actual editor to edit your books. Not your mom or your neighbor’s grandson who just got a bright, shiny English degree or some dude you met in a bar who claims to have written a book about Medieval Poetry. You need a real book editor. It has taken me years to find an editor who understands how I write and wants to make me a better writer. Finding an editor is a lot like finding a spouse, you have to kiss a few frogs before you will find your Editor Prince Charming. FYI—all reputable editors will do a demonstration edit of either the first chapter or first ten pages of your book so that you can evaluate their work. If they won’t do a sample edit, they aren’t someone you should work with.” ~ Katie Graykowski is a #1 Amazon and international bestselling author of 20+ novels, including the wildly popular romance series: The Lone Stars, The Marilyns, Texas Rose Ranch, as well as mysteries and YA.
“A good editor can make or break your book. If you want to publish a fiction or nonfiction book that hooks your readers, keeps the pages turning, and leaves them asking for more, hiring a professional editor is the key. We’re her to help you create the best possible version of the story that’s burning inside you and shepherd you through the process of revisions in a way that preserves your voice, elevates your writing, and leaves you with a high-quality publication-ready manuscript. Not only that, but if you’re working with the right editor, you’ll never meet a more enthusiastic cheerleader rooting for your success.” ~ Ellen Polk, Copyeditor, proofreader, & consultant for authors and entrepreneurs.
To help authors, writers, bloggers, students, and everyone “penning a project,” professional editor, Kourtney shares five reasons why editing is critical:
- Helps You Clarify Your Message: Editing allows you to refine your ideas and clarify your message. It helps you to organize your thoughts and eliminate any inconsistencies or redundancies in your writing. This ensures that your readers can understand your message more easily, resulting in a more effective piece of writing.
- Improves the Quality of Your Writing: Editing helps you to improve the quality of your writing. It enables you to identify and correct any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or punctuation errors. It also helps you to eliminate any unnecessary words or phrases and replace them with more concise and effective alternatives.
- Ensures Accuracy and Consistency: Editing ensures the accuracy and consistency of your writing. It helps you to fact-check your work and verify any information or data you have used. It also ensures that your writing style is consistent throughout your piece, which is essential for maintaining your readers’ engagement.
- Helps You Meet Publishing Standards: If you are a publishing professional, editing is an essential part of your job. It ensures that the written work meets the standards set by the publisher, including style, tone, and formatting. It also ensures that the final product is error-free and ready for publication.
- Saves Time and Resources: Editing saves you time and resources. By identifying and correcting errors and inconsistencies early in the process, you can avoid having to redo work later on. This can save you time and money, as well as reduce the risk of missed deadlines.