Do I Need an Editor?

The answers to all your questions about what on earth I actually do, and how I can help.

So, you did it. That first, second or third draft is sitting proudly on your screen. It's done right?

Or maybe not...

As an independent or self-publishing writer, you are in charge. It's your prerogative to decide where to put your time and money in the pursuit of getting your book right. But regardless of whether you're self-publishing, going the traditional route, a writing newbie, hobbyist or a seasoned professional – all writers can benefit from the help of a skilled and experienced editor.

Having an editor or proofreader look at your work is not necessarily a reflection of the quality of your writing or an indicator that you need help.

It's merely an essential stage of the publishing process and if you're serious about your writing, you need to be serious about your editing – and your editor! Think of it this way, if you're going for a job interview, you'll probably check your outfit in the mirror first, right? Maybe even ask a friend. In writing, that friend is your editor.

Why a professional editor and not just my mate, John?

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure John is a swell guy. But as a professional editor, I am trained in a number of skills that enable me to spot a multitude of pesky hiccups that can easily slip under the radar. Things even Spell Check misses. Ironing out these hiccups can take your writing from good to great, which is exactly what we (including your readers!) all want. It will also ensure your work is of a professional standard, in order to be taken seriously.

Alright, so how exactly can an editor help?

Having a (scarily) sharp eye for detail.

Did you know that only the Times New Roman and Garamond fonts will show if your speech marks or apostrophes are the right way around? Oh yeah, it's not just the their/they're/there's we're scouting for – although they're fun too. Or how about a character who was originally called Fred, but a few months later you changed it to George, and now there's Freds hiding all over the shop. Yeah, we'll catch those too. After spending so long with your work it's natural to get wrapped up in their world and let your brain do the masterful thing of filling in the gaps. Your editor will make sure there are no gaps or mishaps.

Tracking your plot.

Now I don't just mean making sure you have a solid beginning, middle and end structure, though we definitely do that too. I'm talking about conflict, pacing and consistency. If you're a mystery writer like me, you'll know the painstaking process of littering your breadcrumbs to keep the reader hooked. Just because it all makes sense to me – with the keys, the map, the red herring, the weapon and the butler all lined up in my brain – doesn't necessarily mean it comes out smoothly on the page. Sometimes Miss Scarlet ends up in the library from the secret tunnel from the bedroom, even though in chapter four the secret tunnel led to the study. Or how about that key piece of information Professor Plumb revealed in chapter ten, when it would probably be more exciting for him to keep it to himself until the final reveal? When things don't quite add up or you need a little turbo boost along the way, your editor will help get you back on course.

Baggage reclaim.

If there's one thing an editor prides themselves on, it's their efficiency. That's what editing is right? Refining. Stripping down to the essentials to make sure your writing packs the sucker punch or sings the lullaby you want. In fact, we'll help you achieve clarity in defining exactly what you want from your writing – from the message of your book, the purpose of each chapter, the effectiveness of your sentences to the necessity of those adverbs.

Of course, the list doesn't end there. In fact, for a full list of all the features included in my Developmental Edit and Proofreading services, check out my services page right here. Ultimately, all your editor wants to do is ensure your book is the best it can possibly be. A good editor will honour your vision, stay true to your voice, and only ever offer criticism that we believe will benefit you as a writer and your project.

Interested in working with me? Click here to get a no-obligations quote, and find out if I'm the right editor for you.

About the Author

Hollie is a writer and developmental editor for independent authors. 

She writes mindful self-improvement and creative writing tips.