22nd February, 2023
5 min read
Why Authors Considering Self-Publishing Should Use a Professional Book Editor
So, you've finally finished your manuscript – hurray! It's likely that your book has been months, if not years, in the making and you want to give it the best possible chance of success. In this blog, we'll discuss why hiring a professional book editor ahead of publication can help improve your manuscript in ways you never thought possible, help your book stand out from the crowd and save your reputation and time. When a book is traditionally published, some level of editorial work is non-negotiable and authors will be provided with editors to guide them through the process. With self-publishing, the responsibility for ensuring that your book is in the best possible state it can be lies with you, and it is our opinion that all authors considering self-publishing should have some level of professional editorial service during the publishing process.
The Dangers of Self-Editing vs. Hiring a Professional Book Editor
It goes without saying that all authors should self-edit their work. By reading your manuscript carefully, you will be sure to catch a lot of errors before it even reaches the submission stage. After all, nobody knows your book and subject matter like you do! If you are planning on having a professional edit, the best way to make the most of that is to submit the manuscript for editing once you feel confident that you've done all you personally can to improve it. Even simple checks such as running a spell check on your word processor to catch any errant typos will help make the most of your editing experience. However, the danger with self-editing comes when you overly rely on it, when what your work needs – and deserves – is a professional edit1.
You're bound to read your book multiple times during the drafting process and, after a while, it's easy to start reading what you think the words should say rather than what they actually say. A good self-editor must also overcome their own ego and insecurities to look objectively at their book. This can be incredibly difficult when you've poured your heart and soul into your manuscript. Even the best self-editor is unlikely to consider changing entire plot points or characters where a professional book editor may suggest it. And it can be easy to feel disheartened when you return to your draft to self-edit, only to be confronted with flaws and mistakes in your book without any advice from a professional to guide you. Another common error in self-editing is mistaking proofreading and checking for grammar and spelling as editing. If you choose to opt for a more extensive edit with a professional book editor, such as a developmental or opinionated edit, the editor will check and comment on whether your text is suitable for your target audience, will highlight areas of plot, pace and characterisation that need attention and will look at dialogue and consider its content and pace. A copy-editor will check for clarity of presentation and consistency throughout the manuscript. A writer may believe that they have 'edited' their work, or have asked a family member or friend to do the same, but they may have just checked for spelling and grammatical mistakes instead of viewing the manuscript as a whole.
Advantages of Using a Professional Book Editor
Avoiding silly mistakes and negative reader reviews
There have never been fewer barriers to publishing your work than there are today. However, just because you can publish your work quickly without an editorial viewpoint does not mean that you should. A reader is likely to tolerate a few typos in a book, but a book littered with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes is likely to lead them to either criticise or abandon the book (or both!). Jericho Writers, a leading writer's club that provides early-stage editorial services like manuscript assessments and developmental editing is a great place to explore for those looking to get opinions on their manuscript ahead of submission. Head here to read more. Reviews are the lifeblood of any serious self-published author and research has shown that 20% of readers may make a decision to purchase a book based on reading good reviews2. Therefore, negative reviews about your book's legibility and editorial accuracy are likely to have an impact on its commercial success. While an editorial service is unlikely to eradicate all possibility of negative reviews, it will reduce the possibility of receiving any pointing out all the spelling mistakes present.
Hiring a professional book editor will ensure that your book receives an objective, realistic view from an expert perspective. They may suggest larger changes to the plot, structure and characterisation that you may never have even considered. Some professional book editors or companies will even supply advice on the commercial potential of your book and whether it would be likely to be considered by a literary agent. Feedback can sometimes be hard to hear, but self-published authors often find, after time and reflection, that a seemingly outlandish suggestion from an editor at first glance may actually make a substantial improvement to the book. However, one of the joys of self-publishing is that the final decision on a suggested change lies with you. During the editorial process, an editor may make some suggestions that you choose to ignore, however it's highly likely that they'll also come up with some unexpected gems of advice that go on to make a world of difference.
If you're at the stage of researching publication options for your work, it's likely that you've already read your book multiple times already. Do you really want to spend more time going through your manuscript again? And how will you ever know when it's done? Instead of having to re-read your manuscript again, a professional editor will highlight specific areas for your attention. And they will save you the endless frustration of not only checking for misspelled words, but checking for consistency in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation by making any changes directly to the text with their changes tracked for you to accept or reject as you wish. A professional book editor is exactly that: a professional. They have the knowledge and experience to make the editorial process as seamless as possible and free up your time to spend more time doing what you really love – writing!
How Troubador Can Help
If you choose to self-publish with Troubador your initial quotation will include costings for a copy-edit and proofread by one of our professional book editors based on the length of your manuscript. Details on the different editorial services offered by Troubador are detailed here. We have a skilled in-house editorial department working on manuscripts daily to ensure your book is of the highest quality. To submit your manuscript, visit our website: https://www.troubador.co.uk/quote/ to learn more. If you would like a more detailed edit ahead of submitting your manuscript for publication, we offer an opinionated edit service through our sister company Indie-Go. This is an independent, in-depth assessment by a professional book editor that offers an objective view of your manuscript. Our opinionated edit service also includes a copy-edit.
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