You Just Might Need an Editor.
So you’ve finally got your masterpiece of a novel completed. Congratulations! Have a drink, celebrate, but realize the work isn’t over yet. Besides everything else, it’s a given your newly minted book needs editing. “Wait!” I hear you say. “My book is perfect just the way it is. I’ve gone over it with a fine-toothed comb. I guarantee there’s nothing, not one jot or tittle, needing fixing.”
It’s not that I don’t believe you. I know you feel the above statement to be one-hundred percent true. There’s just this one little problem… nobody’s perfect. Wait, don’t go away mad, or take it personally. It’s just the stone truth. No matter how long a person’s been writing, or how assiduously they’ve studied the craft, there are always issues cropping up in his or her books. The wise author knows an editor can help fix them.
You want a “for instance,” don’t you? Well, let’s take an easy one. Typos. There are a variety of those suckers, and they’re the sneakiest sons-of-beotches in the world. You have your transposed letter typos, homophonic typos, damn-there’s-only-one-letter-different typos. Let’s not even get into the “crap-I-thought-it-meant-something-else” typos. Those are almost guaranteed to spark amusement in places you really didn’t intend.
And the biggest problem with typos? The more you read over your work, the less likely you are to notice them. We see what we expect to see. If you wrote, ‘It was written in blood on her bear back,’ and don’t catch that homophonic typo the very first time you read the sentence over, chances are every time afterwards your eyes will see ‘bare,’ not ‘bear.’ Can you guarantee there isn’t even one typo in your book? If not, then you just might need an editor.
Still not convinced? Okay, how about comfort and garbage words? Do you have a go-to word or phrase? If I used the ‘find’ function on your manuscript, would there be multiple instances of it? If I were to pick up your book and start reading, would those words or phrases start jumping out at me like fleas off a stray dog? Can’t answer that? Then you just might need an editor.
And what about that plot hole? “What plot hole?” I hear you yell. “I did my research, have everything worked out to the Nth degree.” Did you just shake your fist at me too? Hey, take it easy and hear me out. I know you did your research. I can only imagine the spreadsheets and sticky notes it took to keep everything straight. The problem is, what you know about your characters, their situations and back stories probably didn’t all make it into the book. Are you completely and utterly sure you’ve told the reader everything they need to know for every facet of the story to make sense? Think about it for a moment. I’ll wait… *whistles* If you can’t convince yourself you have, you just might need an editor.
So, before you consign editors to the “useless” or “necessary evil” heaps, remember we’re here to help. We catch the little things you might overlook, make sure you’re saying exactly what you want to and preserve that most precious of commodities in our brave, new world of publishing—the reputation you build with your readers. If all those points are important to you, you just might want to hire an editor.
Whether just starting out or an experienced author, looking to break into a new market or planning to self-publish, Grammar Goggles can help you polish your manuscript and take it to the next level.
My main focus is on grammar and line editing but my rates also include low-level content editing, where I make note of any questions regarding continuity, pacing and story line. These services are built into the charge since I know, from experience, I can't see problems in those areas without making mention of them.
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