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The Importance of Editing

Posted on: June 8th, 2017 by Publisher Services

While all authors know of editing, not all of them engage in the process before publishing a book. This is a huge mistake that can have a significant impact on the success of your work. If you are considering hiring an editor, or more importantly, if you think you can skip this step, be sure to read this for some important information.

Why is editing so important?

Editing is defined as the preparation of content to provide information. As an author, this means preparing your book to best convey your story before publishing. Often times, editing involves correcting, condensing, and organizing in order to put forth a consistent and complete piece of work.

New authors often forego professional editing either because they don’t think their work needs it or they think it will cost too much. Neither is a valid excuse for skipping this vital step of the publishing process. Yes, professional editing costs money, but it is a worthwhile upfront cost that will help you tremendously in the long run. Proper editing of your book will not increase your sales, however, failing to edit can directly cause your book not to sell.

It is understandably difficult for many authors to have their work edited. They have poured themselves into their work and watching as an editor marks it up can seem like a personal affront. But what you need to remember is that editing is a part of the process and having someone make the changes that need to be made will only enhance the work.

The last thing you want for your readers is to be paying more attention to misspellings or inconsistencies than the actual storyline. When a reader picks up your book, they are assuming that you as an author meet certain standards – that your book is free from misspelled words, punctuation, and grammatical errors as well as that the best words have been chosen to tell the story. If you fail to meet these expectations, it will not matter how great your book is since readers will already be doubting your ability as an author.

Hiring a professional editor will help to ensure the best possible version of your story is put in front of readers.

Can I do it myself?

The short answer is no.

You cannot edit your own book. Yes, you can make grammatical or contextual improvements when you are reading through a draft but you are too personally invested to thoroughly edit your own book. So are your friends and family for that matter. Authors often send manuscripts to a trusted group of family, friends or colleagues for feedback before publishing. This can be a very helpful tool to gain feedback and insight into changes that need to be made. However, this group of people will often hesitate to be overly critical of your work, even if necessary. They are also not professional editors and should not be treated as such.

There is a reason why there is a professional editing industry. These seasoned professionals have years of experience doing exactly what you need them to – going through your work thoroughly to locate the grammatical mistakes, confusion, and other errors. When you hire a professional editor, you are also guaranteeing an objective point of view. The purpose of an editor is to help you produce the best work possible, not to worry about hurting your feelings.


What types of editing services are available?

There are multiple types of editing services available to authors today. Each company may use slightly different terms for describing what they offer. But here is a highlight of the general options.

Line Editing / Proof Reading

This editing service entails going through the work “line by line” and making edits as you go.  Typically, this type of editing focuses on checking for grammatical errors or syntax issues.  Occasionally, it may include color editing or suggestions to reduce redundancies when appropriate.

Content Editing

Content editing can involve massive rewriting or deletion where necessary. It may include resequencing scenes or deleting them entirely if deemed redundant or unnecessary. Character development is also involved, enhancing characteristics or even adding entirely new characters.  The overall tone is important and may be tweaked to best suit the book.

Developmental Editing

This type of editing involves a deep dive into the overall work and spending time to develop it even further. This may include character development, adding or removing scenes, or changing entire plot lines. This style of editing is the most intensive and will usually include everything listed in the above categories as well.

What does it cost to hire a professional editor?

As you can see above, there are a wide range of editing services available. Therefore, the cost of hiring a professional editor ranges greatly. The cost is typically determined by the type of editing service you are looking for and the length of the work being edited. Book editing costs are normally charged per word or page.  Typical charges  for line editing a 60,000 word (approx. 300 page) non-fiction book can range from $.028-.045  per word ($1680-$2700). It is important to work with companies who have editors on staff, rather than publishing companies who work from a stable of freelancers.  Consequently, the lowest price offering might not yield the best results.

In 2010, we launched http://www.YourFirstReview.comas basic tool to help self-publishers identify any editing-type issues with their book. As a low cost alternative ($149), this service has assisted over 1,250 authors.   in the upcoming months we plan to provide professional line and copy editing services.


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