Yes. Yes, you need an editor. And I’m not just saying that because I get paid to do that kind of stuff.
Writing Is Tough Enough
It’s not surprising people are hesitant to hire an editor. When I was in elementary/middle/high school, we had to follow a writing process, as I imagine you did as well. First, there was the outline. OH, HOW I LOATHED THAT THING. Then there was the draft. Followed by editing and proofreading, and THEN, only then, could you turn it in. And then SIGH. Time for cartoons and jelly beans.
When people write stuff, it requires enough effort that they often just want it done, out of their hands, and into the world. That’s kind of how I’m looking at this blog post, actually.
Why Hire an Editor?
But editors (the great ones) are really good at seeing the stuff that you don’t–the stuff you can’t, either because you’re so excited about the content or you’re just too close to it. So think of it this way: it’s not your fault. You have different skills. And even if you are a good editor, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to have someone else edit your stuff. I’ll say it again, because it’s important: It is ALWAYS a good idea for someone else to edit your copy.
What can a good editor do, you ask?
- He or she can pick up on how, in your book, your first paragraph kind of dances around the topic and your raison d’etre. Meanwhile, the first paragraph on your second page really spells it out. An editor will recognize the value of switching those around.
- A good editor might note how you mention a really important audience in the beginning of your piece but then don’t actually address that audience in the rest of the copy.
- He or she says “OK, this subhead isn’t very descriptive–how about this?” and gives you options.
- He or she can add subtle humor, if you want it.
- A good editor can add emphasis via Very. Popular. Styles.
- He or she knows, and can help you find your way back, when you break character–when the style or tone you use suddenly shifts to another voice.
- A good editor will understand that you’re the boss. If you don’t like something that I change, no hard feelings.
But more than anything, a good editor makes you SOUND better. He or she makes your thoughts, your very important points, seamless.
And don’t judge an editor (or writer, for that matter) purely on his or her public speaking style. I suck at public speaking. It’s not my forte. If I edit in my head before I speak, or while I’m speaking, that’s going to be a very awkward conversation. And that’s another thing. Good editors are often perfectionists. Our brains will churn and crank until we find that exact word, that thingamabob, that makes your copy pop. Even if it’s not a real word (for emphasis, people).
If you’re still wondering if you need an editor, contact me. Let’s look at your stuff.