By Andrea Glass
I am an author and an editor. I think I’m a pretty good writer, having ghostwritten more than two dozen books and having won an award. And I’ve been in business as a copy editor for over 20 years.
However, I used a copy editor for the first book I wrote that I planned to publish, and it was an eye-opening experience. I had never before had my writing edited or critiqued; however, I was thrilled to see how my editor improved my book. Yes, she made a LOT of edits and comments, most of which I agreed with. The truth is you can only appraise your writing from your perspective; we need others’ viewpoints to reveal to us how a reader will view our book.
That’s why I also used over a dozen advance readers to further trim and tighten my book. As a copy editor and book coach, I advise all my book clients to have as many people as possible, whose opinions they respect, offer feedback on their book. I’m very proud of the book I published. And all the advance reviews and copy editing paid off, because my book became a bestseller the first week of my launch.
However, first and foremost, behind every great book is a great editor. Today, with self-publishing (also called indie publishing) so prevalent and so easy to accomplish, many novice authors believe they can write a book and upload it to Amazon—and that it’s a done deal! Until they start getting two or three star reviews and comments about their errors in grammar, punctuation, etc.
So today, more than ever, authors need editors. And more importantly, they need to know they need editors; otherwise, they’ll take the easy route to publishing their books. Build it and they will come doesn’t work for indie authors. Many reasons for a book to not succeed include poor or no editing, a non-professional cover, a weak title, and lack of creating an enticing Amazon presence with the best keywords, categories, author page, and book description.
As copy editors, we’re fortunate when authors come to us with a finished manuscript they know needs editing. The book may be clean and might need a light copy edit; or it may be a mess and first need a developmental edit before copy editing.
Yet, some authors may not realize they need an editor or they don’t want to pay for one. This is where we need to be educators as well as editors. Whether we write convincing blog posts, social media tweets and posts, hold classes or webinars, or send out a newsletter, education is part of how we show authors why they need editors. We sincerely want to help them avoid the pitfalls of publishing an unedited book. And we want to help them be proud of a well-written, well-edited book.
Authors need editors today if they want to be taken seriously as a professional published author. It’s up to us as copy editors to spread the word as to the importance of a well-edited book—and then do the best darn job we can do to copy edit their books!
Please post any comments you have. It’s great to get perspectives from other viewpoints. We’re all in this together, helping each other grow our business and helping authors put out stellar work!