You’ve finished your manuscript. All the months of hard work are behind you, and now, all that’s left to do (after you’ve popped the cork on that bottle of champagne) is publish your book and get it out there so people can start reading your masterpiece and experiencing the sheer awesomeness that is you.
There’s just one more thing…
Before your book is ready for the world, if you’re seriously serious about wanting it to look and read like a “real book” and a professional piece of work, you need to have it edited. And in most cases, that means hiring an editor to do the job.
Full disclosure here: I didn’t always feel this way. When I first started ghostwriting and a client would hire an editor to work over one of my manuscripts, I’d feel slightly insulted. They think I’d turn in a manuscript with mistakes? As if! Part of my writing process, whether I’m writing for me or for somebody else, is going over every page multiple times; polishing and honing and tweaking my language. Okay, it’s a little anal, but it’s also why you’d assume that if there are any mistakes hidden in there, I’ll find them!
Except, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the more times I go over a paragraph or a page and mess with it, the more certain mistakes seem to “sink in.” They become such a natural, normal part of what I expect to see in the manuscript that they become invisible. At least, until someone else reads it and points it out to me, and then I feel like a complete idiot.
And I’m not the only writer who has let the odd mistake or two slip by. Last year, I started taking on some editing projects—and have since been witness to just about every form of tense irregularity, typo and derailed train of thought you can imagine. I’ve seen characters’ names change, and then change back, and then change into something else entirely. Seriously, people, it’s a jungle out there! And while I’m not saying your book is some kind of incomprehensible word salad in desperate need of professional help, I have seen enough to know that an editor isn’t just a fancy extra for “real” writers with publishing deals and agents and a New York Times bestseller. It’s a necessary step for anyone who wants to put out a book that looks like it was written by a grown-up.
So save that champagne for another day, and invest in someone who will help make sure your book shows you off as the smart, competent, professional adult you are. When they’ve finished, you’ll really have something to celebrate.
Edited by Joel Canfield