Some writers are nervous about hiring a professional editor. Others think that hiring a professional editor is unnecessary or just too expensive. This post discusses ten reasons why you should consider hiring a professional editor to edit your book.
Why should I hire a professional editor?
A professional editor:
Brings fresh eyes to your work
Self-editing is hard. We all miss errors when we check our own work (even editors) as we are too immersed in what we have written. We read what we expect to see, rather than what is actually on the page.
A professional editor will pick up grammar, punctuation and spelling errors that you or your spellchecker missed. Consider this: your book has a sentence that reads ‘She walked there in her bear feet’. Of course, it should be ‘She walked there in her bare feet’. That is, unless she was really wearing bear feet. Bear is spelled correctly, so it would not be flagged by a spellchecker.
Offers a professional service
Editors are professionals and are skilled in their art. Many authors say they don’t need an editor as they can run a spellchecker or ask a friend who has a good eye for detail to look over their book. That friend might pick up some of the errors, but do they know how to apply a consistent style or are they aware of the importance of conscious language?
When I want the interior of my house painting, I ask a professional painter and decorator to do it. I tried doing it myself and although it was acceptable (ish), it was not a professional job. The moral of my story is that I now pay a professional painter to do a proper job.
Saves you time
Using a professional editor will save you heaps of time. Why spend hours or even days looking over your work for the umpteenth time when a professional editor can take that worry away from you? You can use your time more productively or go and do something fun.
An editor wants your book to be the best it can be, and they will be completely honest with you. If a friend checks your work, they may be uncomfortable about pointing out errors. A good editor will be honest and flag everything they think needs addressing and make suggestions for improving your text.
Gives you peace of mind
A professional editor will introduce certainty that your work will be improved. This will remove the worry that you missed lots of errors.
Provides expert knowledge
Professional editors generally bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to your work. Editors edit day in and day out, so each project helps develop their skills. Plus editors tend to have excellent general knowledge and remember random bits of information. Editors also like an excuse to go down a rabbit hole on the internet to check facts.
Is committed to keeping their skills current
Good editors are committed to keeping their editing skills up to date by taking training courses and reading widely. This means you get the benefit of all that new knowledge.
Saves your blushes
If you mistype a word but the mistyped word has the same pronunciation but different meaning to another word (a homophone),it would not be picked up by a spellchecker. Remember the bear/bare example from above? Well, it could get a lot worse than that… An incorrect or missing letter could prove very embarrassing.
May have a specialist subject knowledge
Many editors have backgrounds in other professions, which means they can offer their specialist knowledge if your project requires familiarity with subject matter, language conventions and terminology. I know of editors with previous careers in medicine, law, engineering, accountancy and the armed forces.
Does more than pick up typos
An editor does not just point out grammar, punctuation and spelling errors. They will apply a consistent style throughout your work (for example capitalisation, hyphenation and use of ‘iz’ and ‘is’ spellings). They will also flag issues such as repetition of words and phrases: for example, using ‘repetition’ six times in one paragraph. An editor will also improve the clarity of your writing and eliminate issues such as extra line spaces and double spaces after full stops. And they should also check that you have used inclusive and conscious language.
Are you still wondering whether hiring a professional editor is worth the money? These are just a few of the tasks that editors do. There is so much more involved, all of which will help to make your book brilliant.