Guest Post: Why Authors Need Professional Editors

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.

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

https://www.facebook.com/authorkarinbeery/

https://www.instagram.com/karinbeery/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/karin-beery

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2666258-karin

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.

Dakota Peace author Megan Kinney shares her story

Today I welcome Megan Kinney. I received a preview copy of her debut novel Dakota Peace. it’s moving and wonderful. We’re going to learn about her journey and how she came up with the idea for Dakota Peace.

I’ve always loved to write, but I started writing fiction when I was pregnant with my first child over sixteen years ago. I was naïve enough to think that just because I had a great idea and the love of writing I’d be able to write a great novel. After my first rejection, I signed up for a correspondence course on how to write fiction, then I went to my first writer’s conference.  There I learned gobs of information about the writing industry, met some amazing people, and got my second rejection, but with it constructive criticism. Five years after writing my first novel, I completed my second and sent it to a publishing company for rejection number three. Four years ago, after a tragedy in my hometown, I decided to write in order to find closure. Two years later I went to another writer’s conference, and this time an editor liked my pitch, starting the two year process from rough edits to published manuscript.

I was inspired to write Dakota Peace after two police officers were killed in my hometown.  At the funerals, the same dispatcher who took the initial call when the officers lost their lives called the officers’ number over the first responders’ radios several times. Then in a ten-code she tells them their free to go home, to rest in peace, and that the other officers would take it from here. This tugged at my heart as I imagined the pain and courage of this dispatcher. In the following months, the story of a dispatcher struggling with burnout emerged.

Much of this story is from my own experience as a law enforcement wife and a foster parent as the main characters are searching for a kidnapped foster child. I ask lots of questions to experts I know whether they are dispatchers, police officers, nurses, or social workers. I had the unique opportunity to take a citizen’s dispatch course for four hours one night. That gave me firsthand knowledge of what a dispatcher does during a shift. Then lots of research is done looking things up online.

My favorite verse is Zephaniah 3:17. “The Lord your God is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” God delights over me whether the words are flowing or I’m struggling with edits or I’m just having a rough day. This verse says nothing about what I’ve done to earn His love because He loves me first.

If I could go back and give my younger self advice I’d tell myself to take every opportunity to learn about the craft of writing, start networking with other writers sooner and build a platform as soon as possible.

My favorite place to write would be either in my bedroom where I can look out over the neighborhood or at the lake, depending on what I’m working on and how much I need to concentrate.  Although I write modern-day women’s fiction, I love to read historical fiction. I love stepping into another time period through the pages of a well-written book.

Back Cover for Dakota Peace:

She went looking for peace, but trouble found her.

After a traumatic call, emergency dispatcher Natalia Brynner flees the city, desperate for some distance from her stressful life. Her peace is short lived when a flat tire strands her on the other side of South Dakota with nothing but her high heels and a speeding ticket. State Trooper Travis Wilkins offers to keep her company while she waits for a new tire, but the quick fix turns into an overnight stay which turns into an extended stay. She soon finds herself in the middle of a foster child’s kidnapping case helping the handsome law man. His presence doesn’t quite settle her anxious heart. With the support of her new friends and her blossoming relationship, Natalia starts to believe she could finally experience a peaceful life … until an armed madman threatens it all.

Facebook launch party is live today. 6-8 MST (& CST and 8EST) Here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/618959645602534/

 

More about Megan Kinney:

A foster mom and police wife, Megan Kinney combines her experiences and love of writing in her debut novel. When she’s not behind a book or computer, she’s enjoying the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and four daughters.

Social media links:

megankinney.net

m.facebook.com/megankinney.net/

instagram.com/megan_kinney_author/

Buy links:

shoplpc.com/dakota-peace/

amazon.com/Dakota-Peace-Megan-Kinney/dp/1645262553

Also, Megan is offering a free e-copy of Dakota Peace to one lucky commenter. This is your chance to ask her about South Dakota, who resembles her police hero and dispatcher heroine. Or just to ask to be put in the drawing. The winner will be drawn on Friday.