Why Writers Need Editors

Well, I’m back from my vacation, and the past couple days I’ve been thinking about something that I’ve had lengthy conversations about: writers and editors. I know this is a topic a lot of writers may not like. But as I am a writer AND and editor, I know the fine line editors walk with a writer ego (and their baby).

So, writer’s need an editor. But why? A lot of writers are willing to have friends and family proof their work for syntactical errors and grammatical/spelling errors. While useful, this doesn’t particularly serve the writer that well. Do they catch continuity errors? Do they notice that name change on page 114? Or the reference on page 30 that leads no where?

You don't have to be alone.
You don’t have to be alone.

What I’m geting at is this: editors (freelance or otherwise) are trained to read quickly and efficiently  and are able to hold almost the entire story in their head at a time (with a good idea at remembering where to find specifics). Editors can catch that your main character character is wearing the same shirt several weeks in a row, or that it changes every scene without being in reach of a change of clothes! Or that your characters are out in the summer sun, when really the time you’ve set up in story is actually late winter.

Editors can make your sentences sing, yes, but they can also serve to ask important questions about your story, like “Why is this scene necessary? What makes it important?” We editors cut mercilessly, point out glaring flaws in narrative, and most of all, we really do want you story to be successful.

Wait, what? It bears repeating. Editors want your story to be successful. We want the best story for you. Really. We don’t really like slashing down and laughing at your work manically in tiny rooms. No, we do want you to succeed. Why? Well, for one, we really like reading, just like you. We like a great story and if we can help make a story great, we sure as hell will try. Editors aren’t out to get you or steal your ideas (well, at least the editors worth their salt). Editors (especially freelance) will help promote your book, because 1) we like it, 2) we helped it become what it is, 3) we think other people should read it and like it as much as we do.

Editors are not the big, bad scary enemy. We are companions on your writing journey. And oftentimes, editors, like myself, are writers as well: we know the solitary struggle, we know the doubt, we know what it is like to write, and we know how important it is to have a great story.

So, if you are a writer, and you’re thinking about going in the self-pub or indie-pub route, hire a freelance editor. You’re probably hiring a cover artist. You may hire someone for formatting your book, you might hire someone to help with your website. In all these things, you will be getting what you pay for. A good editor costs money, just like a good artist, just like a good formatter. And like these other professionals, editor stand by their work, and are willing to work with you.

You can find more information about me at www.kandrewturner.com

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6 thoughts on “Why Writers Need Editors

  1. Editors can also teach writers how to self-edit, especially if they’re going the traditional route because once they get that contract, freelance editors then become a crutch instead of a tool because agents and house editors then begin to wonder how they really write. But, yes, for the self-publishing route, we are necessary, but I also try to teach my clients how to self-edit so they don’t constantly have to rely on me. I mean, I know writers who spend thousands on the same editor and still can’t improve! I don’t want my clients to be that way.

    • I am with you there. I am invested in their success. I want to see them improve and eventually not rely on me anymore. I’ve always done that. I want my clients to recommend me to other writers they know. I know that they won’t be my clients forever, and that makes me glad that they’ve outgrown my service. It means I did my job.

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