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Writing Myth - Editing is Optional

Updated on November 27, 2015
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Who is this stupid? Yes, I said stupid. That just was directed at way too many authors and even publishers. Editing is never optional. It is required.

Writing a book is a long and rough process. You don’t get it right the first time nor the second nor the third. Perfection doesn’t exist in any author. They need the added teamwork of an editor to get there.

What is Editing

Editing is the detailed review of your manuscript with suggestions on how to improve it. As a writer, you are too close to your book to see the errors. No matter how many times you read over a section, you might not see how it is missing something or is too wordy. Plus the story came from your head. So you tend to read things into the story that really aren’t there. That can confuse a reader. You think it is clear, but it clear as mud to the one trying to make sense of it.

An editor examines your story and helps you reshape into something worth publishing. Let’s start with the fact that you need to get over yourself. Your words are not perfect. They need polishing. Editing is the process that corrects your mistakes and tightens up your work.

The Process of Editing

The editing process is not quick. It can take as long or longer than it did to write some books. A lot of how fast it goes depends on the author.

Before you turn it into the editor, an author should go over their own work and edit it at least three times. I mean done in needs to be done in detail. Go through and reword your sentences. Fix spelling mistakes and punctuation issues. Pretend you’re the editor and work on it.

When your editor gets it, expect at least a couple of weeks of work on it. They will address content issues as well as sentence structure. They will point out repetitive issues you need to address. Don’t be surprised if they barely do anything but direct you to perform manuscript wide changes.

You receive the comments and work on the changes. Give it back and the process is repeated again with each round being more focused on the words. This can go on for several rounds.

What Editing Produces

Editing helps the author produce a well-polished book for publication. Writers are too involved in their work to see issues. The story is part of them which means they read things into their writing that might not be there. They know the scene should go a particular way because it does in their heads as they read it. That doesn’t mean the reader will follow.

The editor helps you write clearly for the reader to receive what you had in your mind all along. They clear the communication channel.

Where to Find an Editor

I have to admit that it is really hard to find a quality editor today. So many claim to be one, and they have no idea what a semicolon is and how to use it. They have no idea what a passive verb is. These are not the editors you want. You need to research and be very picky. Let's discuss the aspects of hiring an editor in more detail.

Good Editor

So what makes a good editor? That can vary. Each editor has strengths and weaknesses. Some are great content editors and suck at grammar and punctuation. Others are better with commas and verb tense then how the story flows. The ideal editor is a balance of all of these. Editors help you shape your story.

A great idea is to get a sample for the editor. Have them edit a page of your work to see how they edit. Does it fit with your style? Do they actually produce quality editing work?

The Cost

How much do they charge? I will tell you that cheap editors are not the good ones, but who can afford several thousand dollars? One editor bragged about only charging $75. I looked at the works she referenced as having edited. No way would I have had her edit a greeting card. Hideous! A waste of money. When I’ve looked for editors, I’ve discovered that most that come with good reputations are over $2000 for a full novel. I can’t afford that. Look for editors you can afford that still give you good quality.

How Much Would You Pay an Editor?

See results

Finding The Editor For You

Where can you get one? You can go online and look. That’s where you’ll find many that charge thousands of dollars. Go onto social media and you’ll find ones that charge very little and aren’t worth even that. The best bet is to go to authors who have well-edited books and ask them who their editors are.


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    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thank you for stopping by. That's why I try to charge much less and recommend those who aren't too expensive.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      All very interesting Rebecca, though as you say, good editors are expensive, so not always an option, and these days there are so many people around who claim to be able to help when in reality they can barely dress themselves, it's hard to know when you've found the real McCoy. Ho hum.