4 BIG Reasons Why You Need An Editor

It's my belief that all writers need editors - and that's not just because I'm an editor! 

I've seen what good editing can do on the level of individual books and articles, as well as how the interactive relationship between editor and writer can catalyze growth in every area of a writer's practice. 

Of course, it may not be practical for you to hire an editor to look at everything you write. But when it counts, it's absolutely worth your time and money to bring in a professional. 

Here are the four BIG reasons why you need an editor right now:

Reason #1: You need an outside perspective

Writing may seem to be a solitary pursuit, but it's actually an interactive art. A piece of writing is created to be read. And, just like any piece of art, its interpretation is influenced by the expectations, experiences, and convictions of the reader. 

To make sure your message comes through loud and clear, it's vital to organize your information logically, offer any necessary background, and choose words and phrases that leave little to no room for interpretation.

Sounds simple, right? It is ... and it isn't.

Even experienced writers find it challenging to read their own work the way a reader would. They forget that most readers don't know what they know, and so omit vital background or ground-level information that is crucial to a reader's understanding. Or, on the flip side, they bombard readers with unnecessary details, descriptions, and catch phrases.

Part of an editor's job is to play the part of the "virgin" reader, and assess the presentation of information in terms of both content and sentence structure. This feedback can be invaluable to your message and writing style, and can make the difference between a muddled message and a crystal-clear one. 

 

Reason #2: You don't know what you don't know

Does the exclamation point belong inside or outside the closing parenthesis? Is that sentence a fragment? Are my modifiers dangling? And what the heck is a "serial comma?" 

If you don't know the answers to the questions above, you're not alone. You probably haven't thought about sentence diagrams since grade school, let alone the finer points of parenthetical punctuation. You could fudge it, sure ... But if you're writing for an audience, these are things you need to consider, because some of your readers will know, and it will distract them if they have to read around your errors. Even if these readers connect to your message, they will close the book (or the web page) the moment the typos become louder than the content. 

You don't need to become a "grammar geek" to produce perfectly-formatted content, because, chances are, your editor already merits that title. We editors love what we do, so when it counts, send your writing our way, and we'll polish your piece so it shines on the page and on screen. 

 

Reason #3:  You're trying to land a publisher

No matter how great your idea, if your proposal, query letter, and sample chapters are full of disorganized content, typos, and formatting errors, agents and publishers are less likely to want to take on your book. Why? Because a submission full of errors is just plan unprofessional. 

It's assumed that any piece of writing that crosses an agent's or publisher's desk will have been edited - either by you or by someone else. Working with a professional editor is a great way to get a leg up on the competition. 

 

Reason #4:  You're self-publishing

Probably the biggest reason to hire an editor is that you're self-publishing your book or e-book. This book will soon be out there in the world, available to anyone and everyone as a physical, tangible representation of you, your brand, and your ideas. Therefore, it's imperative that you invest the time and money necessary to make it as close to perfect as possible.

Historically, self-published books have been viewed as sub-par by mainstream publishers, booksellers, and readers, in part because so many of them were poorly edited and formatted. This stereotype is changing rapidly thanks to better distribution platforms, conscientious authors, and the emergence of high-quality hybrid publishers - but the fact remains that, if a book reads like it's self-published, it won't be taken seriously. What's more, some experts say that a poorly-executed book can be more damaging to your brand than having no book at all. 

 

Even though I own an editing company, I still hire an editor to help me with my own writing projects. Invariably, my editor finds something I missed, or asks a question I didn't think of. There's no doubt in my mind that my final products are improved by this collaboration. 

Do you have questions, or want to share your own experiences about working with an editor? Leave a comment! 



Bryna Rene Haynes is the founder and President of The Heart of Writing. In over a decade as a writer, editor, ghostwriter, designer, and publishing consultant, she has helped hundreds of authors find their authentic voices and create powerful, memorable, successful works.

Are you ready to take your writing to the next level? I'm here to help! Contact me today to set up your free 30-minute consultation!