To edit or not to edit – There is no question!

When I began my foray into writing, I knew it would be difficult. I had read many advice columns, articles, and blogs on the subject hoping to glean as much as I could before delving into self-publishing.

One area I struggled with was if I would have my novel professionally edited or not.

With all the self-editing tools on the market, I thought it would not be necessary, thinking (naively of course) I could do it myself.

I had after all, finished my first novel. I was invincible and could do anything right?

Wrong!

This was likely the worse mistake I did when publishing my first book. Fear not fellow writers; I have seen the light.

Although my first book had a good story and comforting reviews, I was devastated when one of my readers pointed out typos and grammar errors they had stumbled upon. It felt horrible; like unannounced guests who came over, and yesterday’s dirty dishes were still on the counter. Yes – that bad!

I probably had read my manuscript twenty times if not more while reviewing it. I painstakingly filtered it paragraph by paragraph, though an online grammar and spelling checker. I even had a few close friends read it to point out any mistakes I might have missed. I was sure I had caught every blemish, but I was wrong.

The book was published and to my dismay still contained some not-so hidden imperfections and flaws. I probably have a few even in this short blog – Argh!!

Never again, I swore.

For my second book, I decided to engage a wonderful editor, and she showed me the way. An editor doesn’t simply correct grammar and spelling, which she did wonderfully, by the way. They also address issues like reader’s comfort, detractors, inconsistencies and story flaws. As she worked on my second novel, my editor pointed out a particular segment of the book that seemed odd and out of place. At first I was offended, like she had called my baby ugly, but when I read the book over, it hit me smack dab in the face. She was absolutely correct! How stupid it would have sounded had I published it as is.

I re-wrote the offending section resulting in the flow and story line being much improved.

I know an editor entails costs, but in the long run, you will not regret the polish and readability an editor will bring to your work. I certainly have seen it and will never forgo an editor’s review again.

And yes, the first book is most certainly on the list to be re-edited – professionally of course.

Write on,

DM

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