Editing is one of those skillsets that many people claim to do well but which few actually do. And while it’s probably the most important service an author can solicit (second only to book cover design), it’s often undervalued. Furthermore, most authors have no idea how to assess an editor’s work, and the result can be catastrophic, ranging from an editor who introduces new errors to an editor who changes the intention of your writing.
Good book editing ensures a book is credible for its market and has the best chance of pleasing its readers. But the editor’s contribution goes well beyond grammar, spelling, and house style. Self-publishers have the opportunity to use an editor to bring out their true talents and aptitudes.
I recently performed an editorial review on a book that came to me through IngramSpark, and when the author, Dave, decided to move forward with editing services, I cherry-picked it. Our schedule was tight, and a week or so later, I recommended 2,523 total edits and offered 78 comments . . . only some of which he decided to accept.
What’s the big deal about editing? You add some periods, delete a few commas, run spellcheck and voila, you’ve just edited a book—well done! Nope. It takes years of dedication to the craft before editors develop the necessary skills to help authors say precisely what they want to say in the most effective, affecting way possible.
Depending on my mood I introduce myself as a writer, ghostwriter, or editor. The thing is, a lot of what I do is project management. It doesn’t sound as glamorous, and I doubt anyone has ever bought a project manager a drink, still, when you own an editing company, it is part of the gig. Now that publishing is fully and wholly digital—and even though it’s increasingly Cloud-based—project management and keeping track of native files is an important part of the gig, especially for those who are self-publishing and depending on freelance book designers.
If you want to write for a living then you need to—and I mean doggedly—set yourself up to write. Sounds easy, right? It isn’t, at least not for most of us. There’s carving out time. There’s finding a physical space, someplace quiet without distractions. There’s finding inspiration, and there’s also learning and perfecting the craft. Not to mention that beyond this, there’s finding someone to read what you’ve written and, hopefully, monetizing your efforts. Here are a few writing tips for becoming an author.
Authors unfamiliar with the book publishing industry can sometimes stumble on the path to publication by not understanding the definitions and roles of people in editing, production, distribution, and sales. By having clarity on the function and purpose of service companies and freelancers, authors can be smarter about hiring the right help.
All of November you were on the clock to complete your book for NaNoWriMo. If you succeeded (WOW!) you're basically a superstar. Congrats! And after you spent an entire month lovingly crafting the perfect manuscript we know you’re eager to get it published.
I love the economy of publishing: a writer takes an idea and creates a product (the writing-the-book part), perfects the product (the editing-the-book part), and then prints the product (the finished-book part that readers pay to read). It’s one of the purest forms of capitalism.
by Julie-Ann Harper, Managing Director and founder of Pick-a-WooWoo Publishing Group and Authors Wish
No manuscript should reach published form without first being edited by someone other than you. Many self-publishing authors are working with limited budgets, and many will choose to overlook the editing process, but they do so at their peril. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that your writing is so 'spot on' that you don’t need editing; everyone needs to be edited, and the author who believes he or she is the exception to this rule is usually the most in need. If you want your writing to be taken seriously, help ensure that by having it properly edited first.