The Importance of Working with an Editor for Publishing Success

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Finding a good editor is crucial for your manuscript’s success. Bookstores continue to shutter, and it’s getting tougher to sell books in today’s market. For this reason, publishers are looking for top-notch books, and they want your manuscript edited before they read it. Since errors can ruin your text and hurt your chances of getting published, it’s essential to find someone who will help you put your best book forward. You want your work to be as polished as possible before it gets into readers’ hands, which is why an editor is vital for the overall success of your book.

Not only can a quality editor help you reach your potential as a writer, but the relationship you establish with them can last well beyond your first book. Editors come in many different forms—it’s not just about spelling and grammar. Check out our services for authors, including our numerous editing services, such as developmental editing, which helps writers identify plot holes or improve character development.

Find an editor who will help YOU

There are plenty of editors, but this doesn’t mean they can all give your book the overhaul it needs. You should narrow down your search to those who edit in your genre. These editors have seen hundreds of manuscripts in your category. The good ones will know what it takes to make it in the publishing industry and help you get there. Just like you shouldn’t take your Ford truck to a Honda dealership, you shouldn’t submit your science fiction opus to a romance editor.

You also want to make sure you find a professional and credible editor. If you’re just starting the editing process, you might wonder where to look. You can ask writers who have been successful—they will likely know some good editors and help you steer clear of the poor ones.

It’s also wise to scan the acknowledgments sections of your favorite books. If you see an editor mentioned there, you can bet the author loved working with them! There’s no better accolade for an editor than being thanked in the book they helped bring to life.

Another option is perusing social media and editing sites. Twitter is full of editors who have worked on hundreds of outstanding books, and there are a number of reputable companies that do excellent editing work as well. We offer a full range of editing services, so make sure to check us out.

Some editors are just starting out, and if you don’t have the money to hire a top-notch editor or their schedule is full at this time, you could consider hiring someone who is new to the industry. Of course, you want to make sure your book ends up in the best hands possible, but keep in mind that all editors have to start somewhere. Begin with a sample, and if you like what you see, maybe consider asking the editor to look at your whole book. You could end up finding a great professional who doesn’t yet have a lot of clients, which would ensure that your book is finished more quickly.

While beta readers can be of considerable assistance, they are not trained to edit. They may offer important advice, but only a talented editor will help you reach that polished final stage.

A word of advice: Once you find an editor you believe in, stick with them! They have become familiar with your voice and style and will help you in your future endeavors. If you’re writing a series, it is a great idea to stick with the same editor as they will understand your characters, plot, and world, and they will be able to catch inconsistencies or continuity errors between the installments. This will ensure that your book is as professional as possible, and readers will appreciate a story that is cohesive.

What should a good editor do (or not do)?

A good editor will value and preserve your style. They won’t try to put their own spin on your work or inject their own voice. They will help make YOUR writing the best it can be. Of course, they may rewrite a few sentences, but they will do their best to make sure that your voice remains unaltered.

An editor will point out the places where you can make the writing better and then show or explain how you can do this. While you may feel criticized and hurt at first, you need to realize the editor is making suggestions that will elevate your work. It’s important that you don’t take their changes personally. Once the initial sting wears off, remember that they are trying to help you. Your editor also wants your book to be a success, and they’re not trying to discourage or upset you.

A great editor will also identify areas that are excellent. They will give you more positive feedback and encourage you, pointing out what made them laugh or cry. When an editor highlights the good stuff in your work, it often makes their criticism mean more. You will know they’re truly engaging with your writing, and it will give you more confidence in their skills. After all, your editor should not be pointing out only the errors or weaknesses in your writing; if they are, consider working with another one.

Stay away from editors who profess to know it all. Good editors admit that they learn as much from the writers as the writers learn from them. Editors don’t know everything, and everyone can make mistakes, so don’t expect perfection. 

Don’t look at the editor to rewrite your whole story for you. You need to have it in place before you send it to them. They will assist you with changes and give you insightful comments, but they will not write your story. Remember, the best editors are invisible—they skillfully polish your work while staying true to your style and voice. The reader should never “see” the editor’s mark on the writing.

Overall, editors should help you strengthen your plot, make your characters and setting credible, create a smoother read, eliminate inconsistencies, and fix typos and grammar errors. Basically, your editor is your coach, and they want to help your work become a first-class read.

Your relationship with an editor

Perhaps the most important piece of working with an editor is your relationship with them. A good relationship is one built on mutual respect and professionalism. Once you find your person, it’s important to strengthen this connection. 

Did your editor make a change that you don’t like? Contact them! They will tell you why they did it and why it was important to the story. While it might be hard for you to change or drop something from your story, the editor is only suggesting you do so because they want to make your work better. If you talk it over with them and still don’t like the change, keep your original choice. After all, it is your book, and you understand what you want to portray.

If you happen to start collaborating with an editor who attacks you or is extremely negative, drop them! You don’t need someone who is not on your side, and you certainly don’t need someone who puts you or your writing down. Break off the relationship and find someone more suitable. You should feel comfortable working with your editor; if you don’t, then you’re working with the wrong person. 

Keep your mind open to all feedback and be ready to make corrections and rewrite parts of your story. The editor wouldn’t suggest changes unless they felt those were in the best interest of your work. You are on the same team, and, ultimately, both of you want the book to land in the hands of readers.

A first-rate editor can help you secure a publishing deal

Authors are always too close to their writing to see everything clearly, which is why it is so important to hire a professional editor. Most writers feel that a superb editor does two things for them: improves their book and makes them better writers. Published authors frequently proclaim that an exceptional editor helped them secure a publishing contract. 

Are you looking for skilled editors for your work? Contact us, whether you need a proofreader to catch stubborn typos or want a manuscript critique to quickly and easily identify major problems with your plot and characters.

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