This post is to burst the bubble of some people who think they know what editing really means. People usually make statements like – “Yes. Editing. Is it not just to check my spelling errors? Why that much price?”, “I rarely make mistakes in my writing, so I don’t need an editor”, “An editor? What will they be doing that I can’t do? I can read and reread myself.”
If in this century you still think like that, this blog post is meant to disillusion you.
The business dictionary defines editing as the art of arranging, revising, and preparing a writing, audio, or video material for final production, usually by a party (called an editor) other than the creator of the material. (This article focuses on the art of editing written materials only).
The objectives of editing include, but are not limited to:
- detection and removal of factual, grammatical and typographical errors,
- clarification of obscure passages,
- elimination of parts not suitable for the targeted audience, and
- proper sequencing to achieve a smooth, unbroken flow of narrative.
Unfortunately, most think it was just number one, that since a job must have a title, random people just tag themselves the name “editors” and even have offices just to take unaccountable money from people. If you are on that table, your first bubble has been burst. Your editor also tells you the chances of your work making much sales. With an editor, your writing goes through tedious refining, just like a blacksmith heats pieces of iron or steel until they become soft enough for shaping.
Bubble number two: proofreading is not editing. Proofreading is narrower than editing. It has less objections than editing and is therefore, a cheaper service.
If you’re writer, you need editing just as much as the farmer needs to pull out weeds from his farm. When you edit yourself, you choke your work because it is very easy to read what you intended to write, rather than what you actually wrote. In other not to send a new book full of errors into the world and make your readers hate you and never look at anything bearing your name again, you need that ‘second pair of eyes’ to scrutinize, polish and refine your writing for a smooth narration.
On the types of editors, we have proofreaders, developmental, copy and line editors. Let’s look at what these people do to your work so you’ll know what you’re missing and risking, the next time you refuse to hire a professional editor.
A developmental editor looks at the structure of your writing (voice, setting, plot, characterization and so on). You need this guy at the early stage of your writing.
A copy editor checks facts and inconsistencies. Changes to the plot made by a developmental editor can introduce errors. You don’t need a clock in a story set in the ancient era. Your readers will notice.
Line editors concentrate on the quality of the writing. They make your work more readable. They trim dialogues and move clauses.
The proofreader’s sharp eyes catch those errors no one else has. You hire them to give the finishing touches to your work, you know, tightening loose ends.
Book promotion can be tough when you don’t have the money to hire a publicist, but with your content in place, your book already has high chances of selling on its own.
PS: Not all editors can give you all these services but a professional editor can.
This post is already long enough. He who has ears must have heard already. A professional editor is just a click away. Spare yourself the embarrassment of having a book full of errors. There’s nothing to be shameful or shy about. Even editors need editors.
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