It can be quite easy to rely solely on beta readers or peer review to perfect your manuscript. Some writers may even contact an editing enthusiast, which is someone who has a passion for editing and enjoys pointing out errors, but does not have any professional experience or an editing track record. Although all of these options are fairly inexpensive and can add value to your writing process, none of these options ensures that your book is ready for publishing. Professional editors look at your manuscript from a number of different angles and vantage points. When you hire a professional editor, you are giving your book a more thorough review. It is a necessary and worthwhile investment.
Need more convincing?
1. They fix poor grammar. This is one of the first items most writers think of when considering professional editing. Editors check spelling, word choice, subject-verb agreement, errors regarding tense and voice, dangling modifies, run-on sentences, awkward phrasing, and more. A book riddled with errors is distracting and it damages your reputation with readers. You want your editor to know what the grammar rules so that they can check and re-check your grammar.
2. They improve your book’s organization. When writing, it is easy to focus more on getting all your thoughts out rather than making sure everything following a logical order or flow. Editors look at the organization of your paragraphs and chapters, evaluating your book’s organization. An unordered book is hard to read and it will frustrate your reader.
3. They check your book for accuracy. Editors check the accuracy of your content. You want to look for editors that have worked on your type of book before so that they can question or evaluate some of your claims. You can even have your editor perform research for you.
4. They evaluate your content for adequate overage. It is important to check for adequate coverage. Editors check to see if you have adequately explained a topic or concept. They help you improve they way you explain or describe an idea or concept so that it is clear to the reader. Editors help maximize readability and point out missing details that readers may need to know in order to fully appreciate your content.
5. They pay attention to style. All editors rely on a specific style initially when they approach editing a book or article. They use styles such as The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Style Book, The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, and others. They also use customized style sheets. In applying one of these styles to your writing, writers get consistency and more polished prose. This is especially useful for books that have more than one author.
6. They check the currency of your content. It is important to ensure that your references or sources are up to date. You can have accurate content in theory, but if it isn’t current, it will affect your book’s reputation. Changes happen all the time in all industries, so it is important to have content checked for currency and you also want your primary and secondary sources evaluated. You want someone to ask questions regarding certain events discussed in your manuscript, so that you can be sure that you have all your bases covered.
7. They can help you create a publishing strategy. Editors (especially those that have worked for publishing houses) can consult with authors on target audience and help authors develop a plan for targeting their ideal reader. Editors can help authors come up with various ways to increase sales and build a solid reputation.
Covering these seven areas will greatly improve your manuscript. Invest in professional editing so that your work can shine brighter.