The Importance of Editing


Have you ever picked up a book to read and it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right, or sound right when you read it out loud? If so, the chances are the book has not been professionally edited.

Yes, editing does make a difference – between a good read and one that will never be picked up again.

Editing is much more than just commas and full stops. It covers a whole host of things, including story and character continuity, sentence flow, paragraphs, scene changes, punctuation and pace.

Did you realise there was so much involved in editing? Probably not. A person who is not trained as an editor, or has not been in the publishing industry for many years and learnt by experience, has no idea what to look for when editing a manuscript. Even experienced authors require training of some description if they intend to edit manuscripts.

Should an author edit their own work? NO! Why? The first reason is that they are far too close emotionally to have an objective view of their work. How can anyone who has just completed writing their beautiful creation look at the work in an objective way, change sentences, paragraphs, and amend or remove sections to improve it? It’s natural that an author thinks his or her work is perfect in every way, that is human nature. But in reality, that is not the case. The second reason is that, unless they have some editorial training, they have no idea what to look for.

When I see authors’ being encouraged not to use an editor to polish their many hours of hard work because it’s cheaper not to do so, I say OUCH! What they are not told is the fact that books that are well written, but not well presented, will not be read and therefore everything they have done is a total waste of time.

I recently downloaded a free e-book and decided to print it out to read, all 267 pages of it! I started reading – then stopped. Why? While the topic of the book is excellent, and crying out to be read, this book is written on full A4 pages, in single line spacing, no spaces between paragraphs, which makes the text one big glob of words on the page. It is very difficult to read, to follow or keep your place, while trying not to get goggle-eyed or a headache. If the author had been more aware and had his work professionally edited it would have made a huge difference. It would be the same when trying to read it on an eReader or computer. While the numbers downloaded may look good, I wonder how many people will actually sit and read it? If the book had been well laid out, with correctly sized ‘book’ pages, this book would be worth its weight in gold.

With the advent of the self-publishing era, I see this more and more – writers being told they do not need to have their work edited, and it’s starting to create a market of unreadable books. That is scary. After all the hard work, very long hours, imagination and creativeness that goes into writing a book, that is a shame.

YOU are worth more than that! Take the time to ensure your book is as good as it can possibly be. It will be worth it!


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