Do You Need An Editor?
Yes. You do. But only if you want what you write to be readable. Only if you care about your readers and want them to get the best experience they can from reading your work.
Otherwise? Sure, just throw it out there and see if it sticks. Maybe it will.
If you are an avid reader like I am, you may have come across some truly lousy books, especially since the self-publishing surge of recent years.
Everyone can write a book. Everyone does write a book. And all of those everyones load their books onto Amazon and sell them for 99 cents or give them away for free. And idiots like me download them and read them because we think, well, that sounds interesting or funny or unusual.
Maybe I’m more aware of a book’s lack because I’ve been writing for many years. Some of my work has been edited and published (Samhain Publishing) so I know what goes into editing. I’m also guilty of self-pubbing a few books without an editor, but I may never do that again because I’ve just read too many bad books and I don’t want to add to that pile of smelly stuff. (Although I’ll never believe mine are stinky, only that proper editing could have made them much better. But that’s probably what the everyones think, too.)
I just finished reading a book I’m quite sure I downloaded because it was free. It sounded like a cute idea. A housewife who is also an assassin. But after just a few pages, I thought:
- this doesn’t make sense
- the pacing is terrible
- it’s choppy
- what a cute idea
- too bad she didn’t get it edited
- wow, some of this is so completely unrealistic
Ultimately, not only was I disappointed, I was annoyed. Once an author has annoyed me, I will never read another of her books even if she’s giving them away. If, however, I had loved this author’s freebie, I would have given it a positive review and possibly I would have purchased more of her books.
What could a good editor have done for this author’s book?
- Picked up on the flaws: chapters that drop off to nothing; unresolved situations; unrealistic behavior from the characters (especially the children).
- Smoothed out the flow of the story.
- Better to ask what a good editor couldn’t have done to improve this book..
Instead I rolled my eyes as I read, (and yes, I did finish it because I knew I’d blog about it) got more disgusted and ultimately felt sorry for the author because HER BOOK COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER! If only she’d had an editor. Oh no. I feel a Dr. Seuss-like poem coming on.
Her book could have been so much better
If only she’d had an editor.
He would have picked up on the flaws
And told her to take a pause
To look at what she’d done
So her book wouldn’t be so dumb
He’d say, “See this part here?
“You haven’t made the motivation clear
“And this section near the end?
“Don’t expect your readers to pretend
“That you haven’t disappointed them.
“Do you want your book to be the best it can be?
Then I think you need an editor like me.”
Note: Watch for several blogs to follow on the subject of editors and editing. I do not disclose the names of authors or their books if I have nothing positive to say about them.