Why Can’t I Publish Without a Professional Book Editor?

You don’t need an editor, right? I mean you are a good writer and you’ve read your manuscript 5,000 times. You would have caught any errors by now. FALSE. Many writers think this way, but, I hate to be the one to say it, they are just wrong. Traditional publishers require you to have your book professionally edited before print, and this is one way that Lucid Books does not differ from the big guys. You might think that your book is perfect the minute you finish it, but that is because you wrote it and the words have been running around in your brain for months. Every book needs fresh eyes. You need to hire a professional book editor for your manuscript. Here’s why:

  1. You have auto-correct brain. You know what the words on the page should be, so when you read, and re-read your work your brain automatically fixes any mistakes. So, you definitely need someone to proofread your work.
  2. Your book makes sense to you already. Again, you have been writing your book for months now. You know what you are trying to communicate. You have written, read, re-written, and re-read your pages hundreds and hundreds of times. And then auto-correct brain sets in and you miss gaps in your argument or story line because you know that they are supposed to be there. This is where a developmental or content editor will come in.
  3. Everyone needs help. Even the greatest writers in the history of the world needed an editor. You are no different. Having your work professionally edited doesn’t mean that your work isn’t good, it just means that you need someone to come along side you and show you where your writing can be improved. Hemingway, and Woolf, and Kerouac needed editors, even the Shakespeare that you read now has been edited. If the Greats needed someone to edit their work, then you do too.

Now, you might think that working with an editor sounds scary. No doubt you’ve heard horror stories about writers giving their work to editors who tear it apart and send it back bloody red. Ok, this might have happened, but more likely than not, the writer submitted their work to an editor not having discussed the type of edit to be done, and, since their book is their baby, was overly sensitive to the edits.

Rule number one in hiring an editor is to communicate with them first. Make sure that you feel comfortable with your editor and that they understand your vision for your work. Communicate with them about what kind of edit you are looking for. Is it just a proofread, or should it go deeper than that. Be clear on what you are looking for so that you don’t get surprised by what gets returned to you.

If you ask an editor to do a content edit that means they will not just look for typos and grammatical errors, but they will edit the structure of the book. They will make sure that your argument makes sense or that your story line is coherent. This kind of edit will bring with it many mark ups. Do not be discouraged. Your editor just wants to make your book the best that it can be. Read the edits with an open mind. You do not have to agree with everything that your editor said, but you do not have to explain yourself to them. An editor is aware that you are going to take their edits and either use them or not. Holly Lorincz has some great tips for working with editors.

In the end, working with an editor should be a good experience, and a lot of that depends on you. If you just hire a random editor and then think that they will send your book back telling you it was perfect as is, then you will have a very bad and discouraging experience. But if you speak with an editor before hiring them, and if you keep an open mind while reading and implementing their edits you will have a pleasant and beneficial experience. It’s up to you.

Have you found working with an editor helpful? Share with us in the comments section below.