The Roundabout Blog
5 Points That Scare Off Authors. To Edit or Not to Edit?
Posted by Phil Whitmarsh on 09/09/2014
That’s the question that a lot of authors ask themselves. “Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before I publish it?”
It seems pretty obvious to me, maybe because I’ve been breathing book publishing for over ten years now. But there are people who consider not having their manuscript professionally edited before they publish their book and launch it into the bookselling marketplace. Here are five reasons authors choose the “not to edit” path:
• Professional book editing costs money.
• Professional book editing takes time.
• Professional book editing reminds me that I’m not perfect.
• Professional book editing reminds me that my book isn’t perfect.
• Professional book editing makes me afraid someone will change my book’s message or meaning.
I understand each of these concerns. But I’m afraid these reasons are short-sighted as they aren’t thought out to their most reasonable conclusions.
• “Professional book editing costs money.”
True. Every puzzle piece and element in your book’s publishing process will cost you some investment. It might be energy, time, or money. Professional book editing is like using the best construction materials in a suspension bridge. We’ve all seen news stories of public buildings where balconies or roofing or stages have collapsed. Many of these tragedies could have been avoided by using better materials or constructing with greater care.
If you imagine your book’s editorial integrity to be the safety features in your book’s construction to make sure the story is sound, the information is adequately communicated, and the overall reader experience is exemplary, you will see that editing expenses should be an anticipated part of any publishing project. Every building block is important to create the best book you can build.
• “Professional book editing takes time.”
True. Publishing has been called a marathon endeavor for a reason. Publishing isn’t a sprint. Traditional publishing takes as long as it takes on purpose. Publishing schedules are made fully anticipating every step in the journey, including several editing and proofing passes.
If you plot out your publishing journey like you would a cross-country, family vacation, you’ll be able to think ahead and allow for the necessary to time for each step. Let professional book editing be one of your manuscript’s first legs of the journey.
• “Professional book editing reminds me that I’m not perfect.”
Yep. Better that you learn it now, than readers tell you that later. It’s that simple.
Redbrush’s staff helps you publish a superior book product, something on par with a traditionally-published book. Isn’t it better to receive constructive feedback now and have a chance to fix and finesse the writing so that you come off in the most credible light, before you’ve printed hundreds or thousands of copies only to have customer stumble upon your errors, typos, and misspellings after they’ve paid for your book? Professional book editors who see your mistakes want to help you publish a better book and sell more copies of it. They help you and your book to be judged on merit and writing done right.
• “Professional book editing reminds me that my book isn’t perfect.”
Right. Name any of your favorite writers. Chances are they are traditionally-published authors whose publisher’s editors have poured over their manuscripts to catch all of the typographical errors, incorrect syntax, poor grammar, et cetera, that they could find. That’s what publishers do, because they want to publish the best book they can. That is their reason to publish; to offer the best books in their market.
Publishers paying to put out a book know that readers judge books by not only their covers, but also by their overall reading experience. That’s why they pay for professional book editing to be completed every time. They know unhappy readers are less likely to recommend a book. The positive word of mouth will be scuttled. They’ll do everything they can to make sure that won’t happen. Shouldn’t you?
• “Professional book editing makes me afraid someone will change my book’s message or meaning.”
Very understandable. You naturally feel ownership and pride in your writing. You may feel like your manuscript is like a child that you’ve been waiting to be born. You can’t imagine someone changing its hair or eye color. What about swapping its sex from female to male?
Fear not. Professional book editing is nothing like that. The goal of Redbrush’s editors is to help you publish the best book you can write. With the help of our editorial appraisal, our staff will tell you what you’ve done well and what needs work to present your information or story in the best and clearest way. They understand how important your work is to you. It’s their responsibility to help you honor your creativity and talents by sharing your writings in their best and most satisfying form.
The choice is yours.
Weigh the options carefully. Think of them in very concrete terms.
• Publishing a professionally published book vs. offering a book that will have uncorrected errors.
• Printing ARCs for reviews first vs. a first printing and launch of books that are unedited.
• Your edited book—as good as anything from a traditional publisher vs. your unedited book—as poor as most of the books coming from self-published authors.
• Launch with greatest confidence vs. always waiting for the other shoe to fall.
• Money and time well-spent vs. money and time wasted.
• Creativity honored vs. creativity squandered.
Redbrush has created payment options that make it possible for each and every indie-publishing author to include professional book editing for their project. Better books sell better. Plan for better. Create superior books. Achieve more.