I recently attended a book launch with an author whose book I was in the process of editing. As we chatted another writer – whose name I was aware of although we had never met – joined us. I knew through the grapevine that he too was writing a book. The author introduced us announcing,
“This is Jane, she’s editing my book and we’re working towards publication in a few months.”
“Wow, fantastic,” came the reply, “but why on earth do you need an editor when you’re such a good writer?”
It’s a question that often leaves me lost for words – a rare state of affairs. If you have to ask why a writer needs an editor then – in my book – you don’t fully appreciate the writing process, or the symbiotic relationship that develops between the two.
While it’s wonderful for an author to have a support group of other writers and readers who’ll give their opinions on your work – which is of huge value as you’re writing – you also need a professional to guide you through the process. A good editor will be your coach, manager, cheerleader and most valuable team player. They won’t be afraid to tell you where you’ve gone wrong, but more importantly will tell you how to put it right.
If you want to be published you should be talking to an editor before you start writing, or at the very least before you submit your manuscript to a publisher.
Writers often don’t appreciate there are different types of editing, or that editors may have a primary focus on only one:
Depending on what you’re writing, how good a writer you are, whether you’ve published before or you’re working on your first manuscript, you should work with an editor at some point before publication. If you read the Acknowledgements in any bestseller, you’ll realize that the most prolific writers in the world often have a whole team of editors behind them. There’s a good reason they do.
Next month I’ll be looking at the Top Ten things editors look out for when starting to edit text – sign up for the blog now to make sure you don’t miss it.
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