Having Your Book
Very few, if any, successful professional writers would edit their own book. The reason is that you as the author know what your book should say, what words are supposed to be there, and your brain automatically skips over the errors making the corrections as it goes. A writer can also assume their wording conveys something more clearly than it does. This is where a good editor is worth his or her weight in gold. It is difficult to be truly objective with your own material, and so writers prefer a professional editor.
A lot of people choose to have friends or acquaintances edit for them, and this can also be another mistake. One of the founders of Cygnet Media chose that path when writing his first book. A couple of his friends, who were very literate, offered to edit it for him. Brian admits that their advice was very good; they helped him to flesh out some of the characters and improve the overall readability of the book. But the editing was still not up to the standards of a professional editor. After publishing his book he ended up pulling it from the shelves to have it re-edited and republished. Brian says that he will never again publish a book without the services of a professional editor.
The most important thing about a professional editor is that he or she is not your friend. Friends don't want to hurt your feelings or insult you. Friends worry about making you angry if they critique your book. Instead your friends want to build you up and offer praise, which is wonderful, but it doesn't help to make sure your book is ready to be published.
Professional editors are not your friends, which makes them your best friends, when it comes to making sure your book is ready for prime time. They are not worried about hurting your feelings, since you are paying them to be honest with you. An experienced editor has quite often worked with a large number of authors and manuscripts, and they know how to look at a book with an eye toward improving it. The main concern of an editor is to make your writing as strong as possible. What you as an author have to realize is that the editor is critiquing your book, not you personally.
A really good editor can pick up on your personal tone-of-voice and edit in a way that mimics your personal style. At the same time an editor can point out where your writing style might not match the genre you are writing in and offer suggestions on how to change or improve your writing style to enhance your book. If your goal is to eventually be picked up by a major publisher, making your book available through bookstores across the nation, one of the things that they're going to insist on is that your book be edited by a professional editor. If you approach a publisher with your manuscript already professionally edited, it increases the odds that they will even look at the book. Publishers are inundated with manuscripts filled with errors, most of which they throw away without even a glance. If you are considering submitting your manuscript to one of the major publishers please check out our series on how to create and submit a book proposal.
At Cygnet we offer several levels of editing depending on your needs. Please visit our editing page for more information. If you have to edit it yourself then check out our Secrets to Self Editing.