3 Things You Shouldn’t Hire an Editor to Do

3 Things You Shouldn’t Hire an Editor to Do
Don’t waste your money–read this article first!

When authors contact me about editing, they often don’t even know what they need. They know they should hire an editor at some point, but many are confused about terminology like developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading. But there is SOOOO much a writer can do before paying an editor for his or her expertise—and I’d like to show you three ways to not only save your money but get the most bang for your editorial buck.

1.    Don’t pay an editor to edit your first draft.

No matter how brilliant your ideas are, or how beautifully you phrase them, do some serious revising before you hire professional help. Learning to revise your work is an important part of becoming a professional writer. Get rid of those extraneous words, the fluff that doesn’t say anything, the character who doesn’t advance the story. Consider every word, every sentence, every paragraph. There is no point in hiring a copyeditor to clean up work you may later delete in a revision.

2.    Don’t expect an editor to provide a service other than the one you’ve contracted for.

Your manuscript may need different types of editing help at different stages of your writing process. When you hire a developmental editor, you hire someone to help you with the big picture, not small details like punctuation. When you hire a proofreader, don’t expect help with your story arc; a proofreader is looking at details (like that pesky punctuation the developmental editor didn’t care about). If you’re uncertain about the type of editing help you need, ask me—I’ll be happy to help you figure it out. I’m here to help you make that book, newspaper article, blog post, advertising flyer—or anything else that strings together those amazing, marvelous things called words—sound as perfect and professional as it can be.

3.    Don’t hire an editor to tell you what you want to hear.

You are the author, and you have the right to disagree with your editor. You always have the right to ignore his or her advice and reject suggested changes. But if you engage intellectually in the editing process, you’ll find your writing improves and your ideas crystallize as a result. Remember that your editor hasn’t lived with your ideas, plot, or character—and that’s one of the reasons why you hired him or her to work with you. It is difficult to be objective about your writing when you are so close to it, so really consider every suggestion—then discuss your ideas and concerns, and make your editor your partner in creating the very best work you are capable of writing.

My love affair with words is the best tool in your arsenal as a published author. You came up with fantastic ideas, and I’ll help you make sure they come across the way you want them to. I love words, and I’d love to play with yours. Email me at cyjohnson5580@gmail.com, and let’s discuss how I can help you.

Happy Writing!

—Candace

 

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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10 thoughts on “3 Things You Shouldn’t Hire an Editor to Do”

  1. this is a fantastic piece, Candace. I especially love what you say about first drafts. It is so, so accurate: it’s simply a waste to hire an editor at that point. First drafts always need tons of attention from the author before they’re ready for anyone else to see them.

    1. Thanks for that, Victoria, and I agree with you completely. While it might be appropriate to hire a writing coach after a first draft, it’s just a waste of money for an author to hire someone to clean up a manuscript before self-editing. And who can afford to waste money?

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