Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good editing is so so important!

As writers and authors, we spend weeks, months, sometimes years, perfecting a book. But even still, there are typos and mistakes, grammar boo-boos. It happens. We're human. I truly believe that when your eyes have read something a million times, it just scans the document. Your brain kinda knows the words by heart. It automatically corrects the mistakes and you just don't notice them.

But a reader WILL notice them. They make them stop...they pull them from the story. And every time a reader is pulled from a story, there is a chance they won't go back.

This is why every author needs an editor..even two. My publisher, Lyrical Press, has a very extensive editing process. Before we start the process, I do a last self edit. Then my copy editor goes at it. Usually we do three rounds. She edits, I correct. She edits again, I correct. She edits again, I correct. Then it goes to another set of eyes, a line editor. They go through it and it's sent back to me once again for correction. And then...even after all that, I get a galley copy, which is the final copy...what will be published unless I find and correct mistakes. Once that proof is approved, it's going back. So, suffice to say, I scan it very carefully. And every time I have found mistakes in the galley.

But through this process, I have been able to produce a final product with few to zero mistakes. Unfortunately, as any published author will tell you, a couple still slip through the cracks. Usually it's not misspelled words, but punctuation mistakes or something silly like a space in the middle of a word (I was just told about that one in A Bitch Named Karma.)

In the end, we are human, but we are also professionals, and readers expect a professional product.

I am in the process of reading a great story. It has really sucked me in. But there is literally a mistake on just about every single page. Very distracting. If I wasn't so into the story, I would have set it down long ago. So this author is lucky...for now. But will I ever pick up one of her titles again, or anything from that entire publishing house? Most likely not.

So, my biggest advice today, NEVER EVER think you are too good for an editor. If your book will be published by a traditional publisher, be it print or digital, you'll have no choice but to undergo professional editing. (But as I have just proven, even a publisher can have shoddy editing). Those of you who choose the self-publishing route, please do not underestimate the value of paying for professional editing services. Even those of you who are far from being ready to publish....share your work with another writer or even your friends. They can help you find the mistakes your eyes gloss over.


  1. I LOVED THIS POST! Editing is so important. I didn't think I was terrible at editing, but I knew I needed assistance. Turns out I was worse than I'd expected. That being said my editor brought to light so really great points and issues that I am now able to fix myself! Each time I edit I learn something new. It's amazing what you can learn with a fresh set of eyes!

    Happy New Year!

  2. This is so true. Even reading typos and errors in the beta stage can get annoying, so I couldn't imagine paying for a novel with typos. Ultimately, it always comes down to the author.

  3. It's true, I have read professionally published work and noticed silly little errors. It might be more of a big deal for me because lately it's been hard to just read for enjoyment (I end up in editing mode almost all the time). It does pull the reader out of the moment.
    Editors are a godsend (so long as they're not changing your style, just the actual mistakes - not bitter or anything).

  4. Yes....very true. One or two is fine...I can deal with that. It happens. But a book riddled with them...not cool.

  5. In my experience, the editors have been style changing...just assisting..we work as a team.

  6. I agree with you completely. I recently read a book by a big-name author published by NY biggie and there were tons of mistakes. I felt cheated at the price I paid for something so carelessly done.