Writing a book is a huge accomplishment that only a marginal number of people in the world will actually achieve. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Those of you who do write a book will spend hours sitting at your desk as your fingers whittle away at the keyboard. Therefore, you want to protect all of that hard work by editing your book the right way. Don’t fall prey to the many book editing myths that are scattered around the online world.
Book Editing Myth #1: Great Writers Don’t Need Editors
Anyone who says this is obviously not a great writer because if you ask the best writers in the world to rate the importance of their editor, every one of them will answer with a 10/10. Great writers are highly dependent on their editors. Every book that’s been successful had a great editor attached to it. The problem is that writers can’t edit their own books because they are so close to it that they don’t see words. They see ideas, concepts, arguments, and the plot. Being too close makes it impossible to see the problems.
Book Editing Myth #2: Editors are All the Same
This is completely untrue. There are a number of different editing tasks that are completed before a book is published. Each type of editing requires a completely different skillset.
Developmental Editing: Looks at the overall structure of the book. For non-fiction, editors focus on the overall argument and makes sure there are no inconsistencies. In fiction, the editor will look closely at plot and characters.
Line Editing: An editor looks at the manuscript as a whole and makes suggestions accordingly. This is not as deep as developmental editing but it does pay attention to overall plot and content.
Copy Editing: This type of editing focuses on the language and style of the writing itself.
Proofreading: Checks for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
Book Editing Myth #3: I Should Hire the Cheapest Editor
The rule is to budget what you can afford, but remember that the best editors are going to charge more for their book editing services. You end up getting what you pay for in this area. Not all editors are created equal. In fact, some freelancers mistakenly label their services as “book editing” but all they do is proofread the book.
Editors are also going to charge more for deep developmental editing than they are to proofread a book just before publication.
Book Editing Myth #4: Editors Should Make the All of the Changes
When it comes to small issues like grammar and spelling, then the editor can absolutely make the changes. However, when it comes to deep developmental editing, they are going to add markups to your manuscript. But the author will need to actually make the majority of these changes.
We are all going to cringe at the sight of our words in red but this is the editor’s job. Certain issues are going to be slightly subjective but when your editor adds a note to your manuscript, take it to heart.
If there is anything written up that you don’t understand, you should always ask. They should be able to tell you the rationale behind their decisions. An editor’s job is to make sure that a book manuscript meets a specific industry standard.
Editing is the transition that a book makes from substandard to superb. It’s the step in which you create the book you have always dreamed of writing. An editor is your partner to make it happen. Just be sure that you don’t fall prey to any of these common book editing myths and you’ll be well on your way to publishing your best book.