Ah, life as free agent: No deadlines, no schedule, no minimum required word count, no editor breathing down your neck … That’s the life! Self-publishing authors don’t have to deal with the same constraints that writers under contract with a traditional publishing house must adhere to. However, when it comes time to polish and put the finishing touches on a manuscript, there are compelling reasons a self-imposed professional editing process is the best thing you can do for yourself.
- Because no one’s perfect.
At least not the first time around. Errors happen, and they happen to the best of us, no matter how eloquent, polished and conscientious we are about typing “clean” on the first run-through. The real kicker is that even if we take the time to self-edit afterward, our writer brains have an uncanny ability to fix errors in our own sloppy copy before the error registers in the conscious mind. Many authors, in fact, are utterly shocked to find out how many typos, grammar infractions and faux pas get by them in their own editing process. An unbiased editor can read copy with fresh eyes and is trained to zero in on potentially embarrassing errors that are virtually invisible to the author.
- It’s built-in beta testing.
What to know how readers will receive your work? Most of us do. Having someone advance read our work helps us gauge the interest of potential readers and the impact of our words. But is your best gal pal or your fawning Auntie Myrtle going to give you the feedback you need if there’s something that needs to be addressed? Most likely not. However, an unbiased editor won’t pull punches. While most are positive, encouraging and diplomatic, they’re also pragmatic. If there’s something you need to fix to make your book the best it can possibly be, an editor will let you know so you can have the strongest shot at success.
- Sure, you knew what you meant, but will your readers? It’s usually all but impossible to step back from a freshly minted manuscript and see it the same way potential readers will see it. They may take away things from your words that you did not intend to convey. This is difficult for a writer to perceive when he or she is viewing the text through the prism of already knowing what the message is. This is where an editor is worth his weight in gold! An editor can ensure that the meaning you seek to convey is evident throughout your book.
- You boost credibility.
Every error, unclear passage and incomplete thought chips away at the credibility of a book — and your credibility as an author. A professional editor’s mission is to ensure that your book not only goes to press error-free, but also includes all the elements that position your book as complete, plausible and credible. Editors, by nature and by virtue of their profession, are voracious readers. They are able to put your work into a broader context that most independent writers cannot match, and that contextual industry knowledge is a priceless resource.
- Credibility boosts interest — and interest boosts sales.
An editor is so much more than a proofreader; an editor is focused on ensuring that your manuscript has a unique, consistent and compelling “voice.” This voice is what captures readers’ interest, keeps it and helps them make the leap from browsing their options to choosing your book.
Yes, editing is an “option” in the self-publishing realm but when you consider the benefits, why would you pass it up? Thoughtful and skilful editing can make the difference between a good book and an phenomenal one — and that difference can more than pay for itself in additional readers.
Do you have a finished manuscript and need feedback? Let Outskirts Press take your good work and make it great!