Do I Need An Editor For My Book?
Yes, you do need an editor for your book. That’s the simple answer. Whether you’re writing fiction, children’s fiction, non-fiction, memoir… if you want anyone to be interested in reading your book you need to go through editing.
There are other useful stages of the writing process too which can help you control the financial cost of hiring an editor. These include alpha readers, beta readers and self-editing.
There’s a massive elephant in the room, though. Let me explain.
Say you’ve written a manuscript and you think it’s a pretty good story. You find an editor to work with. You send them your novel, expecting them to make some suggestions about your word choices, maybe some of the longer passages of description. You’re ready for that, right?
What you get back angers and depresses you. Instead of the anticipated tweaks to your writing style and corrections of continuity errors, you get this…
“The first six chapters are unnecessary worldbuilding and backstory. Start the story 20,000 words later.” …
“I can’t really care about your lead character and your reader won’t either.” …
“The plot of the novel isn’t driven by any significant character motivation. Your character needs a much stronger reason to go after their goal and go through all those difficulties.” …
“The style isn’t engaging yet. There’s a lot of ‘telling’ in places where ‘showing’ would be much more effective.
The editor might go further and say, “The premise of your novel is severely flawed. It just doesn’t work.”
Not a great feeling.
You’re pretty much back to the drawing board. Unless you decide to ‘publish and be damned’ and discover the hard way through terrible reviews that the editor was right.
Learn to Tell a Great Story
Editing is valuable. Actually it is invaluable. You should definitely get your book edited. But that isn’t the first point at which you should seek support. When you write with support, learning and developing your awareness of structure, characterisation and style, you’ll create a much better first draft than you would have all on your own.
While writing can be a lonely business, being a writer doesn’t have to be. The act of writing is often solitary but learning about it and developing your skills can be a highly sociable thing.
Investing in help and support doesn’t mean you won’t need an editor. It does mean your manuscript will be in a much better state when it does go to an editor. This makes the editing process less painful, you’ll understand why the editor points out certain things – and it’ll certainly make it cheaper and quicker. In the long run, you’ll also get better reviews on your book and greater success as an author. Win, win, win.
It’s sort of like knowing the cheat codes to a game. You end up further ahead of the others by working smart.
DEANNE ADAMS - STORY COACH AND MENTOR
I care passionately about words and stories. As a Story Coach and Mentor, I help writers to tell irresistible stories. I offer courses, memberships and programmes to suit beginners, developing writers and those ready to become the writer they've been trying to be for years.
Learn how to 'Show more than you tell' in your writing with my free workbook - your guide to an engaging storytelling style. You can also follow me on Facebook for more tips to support your writing journey.