You’ve done it! You’ve written a great main character (or maybe two or more) who faces an interesting villain or challenge, and their story has an intriguing beginning, a page-turning middle, and nail-biting end – all set in an amazingly rich setting. What’s next? What is book editing and do you need it?
First, congratulations on getting it all down. Many people don’t even get that far. There are many excellent books never written. Most stories will stay untold forever. Getting your ideas down on paper – shaped into a coherent and logical story – is a major challenge, and the first giant step to getting published.
What is Book Editing?
The next step in your journey is editing. After you have self-edited through a few drafts, hire the services of a professional editor to look over your writing. You might know exactly what you wanted to say (and think it reads perfectly well), but how does your book sound to others?
How does someone without your unique imagination and experiences receive the story? Are the meanings of the sentences clear?
Your editor will pass through your work with a critical eye, editing as they go to remove excess wordiness or confusing phrases, and drawing attention to parts that could be elaborated on or highlighted.
Using an excellent editing service for your work is crucial to getting your book ready for the next step: finding an agent or publisher.
Agents know very well what works and what doesn’t – their careers depend on it.
What an Editor Provides
If you have a professional editor go through and remove all the repetitive phrases, awkward grammar, and ambiguous wording, you give yourself a great head start for the long road ahead. Your writing will be sharpened to a point so that everything you wanted to say is still there – except it will be sharper and brighter than it was before.
Your editor doesn’t rewrite your story or your prose: what they do is help you find your voice, and make sure it is easily understandable for your readers.
Remember, to everyone else your characters are strangers. New readers won’t understand your ideas unless they present in a way that is readable and easy to comprehend.
A professional editor is a filter who sifts through your writing before it goes to the next step. Your editor clears out all the clunky bits while drawing your attention to highlighted or enhanced areas. Editing ensures your writing ends up getting seen by the right eyes, in the best light possible.
Why Edit Your Book
Good writing is never effortless. Few writers can take the ideas floating around in their head and present them on the page in an artistic, consistent and readable way the very first time.
Any writing that appears as if the author beautifully rendered their thoughts directly onto the page has been the most heavily edited, picked over, pared down and reshaped document.
In the art of writing, getting your ideas down is only one part of a much longer process. Writing a big part, but if you stop there, your book has a good chance of being consigned to the slush pile (along with all the other brilliant but unedited stories).
Agents, publishers, and readers demand stories presented in a certain way: with proper grammar (even if you break the rules now and then for fun), with correct spelling and punctuation, and with a clear, logical flow. It takes time, revision and effort to achieve such goals.
So what to do? Start editing.
Start with Self-editing
Whether you hire a professional editor right away or want to do the first few revision sessions yourself, re-reading and modifying your story is essential for a strong story that delivers impact and emotion.
Think of your story as a newly formed and unique clay sculpture you’ve just finished molding. The next step is to start carving away the lumps and bumps, polishing the rough bits and removing excess clay, and adding details where necessary.
Once you are happy with the form of your book, it’s time to hand it over to a professional editor.
Get Help Editing Your Book
A fresh set of eyes is vital to spotting all the little details that your friends and family who read your book either didn’t notice or were too kind to point out. A professional editor will scour the pages, hunting for every odd inconsistency, awkward piece of grammar, glaring omission or misplaced modifier. Editors double-check the spelling and make sure the whole story fits together in a way that will catch the attention of both agents and readers.
No matter how eagle-eyed you are, make your manuscript shine and stand out above the rest by having an expert editor make a professional review of your book. Doing this before it goes out into public can be invaluable – and in this competitive industry, it could make all the difference.