There used to be a time when publishers offered contracts on good ideas, then worked with authors to develop and polish their stories. Not anymore.
Like many industries, publishers have had to make cuts. It’s hard to find freelance printers and distributors, so they made cuts in areas where independent contractors can fill in the gaps. They may not be able to edit the way they used to, but authors can still find and hire editors on their own to help them strengthen their stories.
But why should authors hire professional editors? Here are my top five reasons why:
- Publishers want perfection (or close to it). At Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, I can’t work with you through all of your plot holes, character flaws, pacing issues, and point-of-view problems. If you’ve already fixed those, however, we can tighten your writing, add more showing, and rearrange a few things to make your story sing. I need you to give me your cleanest copy possible, and only a professional editor can help you with that.
- Readers and retired English teachers don’t know the industry. Your friends can tell you if the story is compelling and your high school English teacher can tell you if the grammar is correct, but they can’t help with genre expectations, fiction-writing techniques, or basic industry standards. Editors can.
- You’re your own worst critic. You might think you have a garbage idea. You might think it’s beyond hope. You might think a lot of things, but you’re too close to the story. A pro can give you honest, experienced feedback.
- You’re not critical enough. Just because you love your characters and their storylines doesn’t mean everyone will. And your ability to mimic Jane Austen’s tone worked in the era of Jane Austen, but that type of writing (i.e. omniscient) doesn’t sell well today. A pro knows that, and he or she can give you the critical eye you need.
- Writing and editing use different muscles. Being good at math doesn’t mean you’ll be a good accountant; there are a lot of other factors you need to know, like state and federal tax laws. The same is true for writing and editing. They’re similar but different. You need to develop both sets of muscles to do both (and each skill takes years to learn). If you haven’t done the work to strengthen your editing muscles, you need a pro to help you out.
Those are just my top five reasons why you need a professional editor—trust me, there are more! I don’t say this to be discouraging. In fact, I hope it encourages you (especially if you’ve already received some rejections).
Hiring a professional editor isn’t something the weak or lazy do. It’s the sign of a serious writer who understands her limitations and wants to do everything in her power to improve her writing (and chance at getting published).
She’s trying to make things right.
Two years ago, Jessica Miller made a mess of her already confusing life. Now, she’s back in Boyne Heights, and she’s determined to fix her reputation. She can’t seem to avoid the past that haunts her, but that’s the joy of small-town life—word spreads and people remember. Intent on her mission, however, she faces her past head-on, taking a job with her ex-boyfriend while avoiding her grandmother’s attempts to find her a new one. Order link.
Karin Beery grew up in a rural Michigan town, where she wrote her first novel in high school. Today, she writes contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s reading, editing, or teaching it. She has worked with Iron Stream Media/LPC as an author, general editor, and now managing editor, and is an active member of American Christian Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network. Her third book—Avoiding Marriage—is now available!
Note from Cindy:
I loved the first book in this series, Practically Married and Avoiding Marriage was just as much fun to read. Once you open one of Karin’s books you’ll want to read more.