Answer Me This If You Can


Editor at work – Yeh right!

For as long as I’ve been writing full time (since 1995), one aspect of our chosen career path has always bothered me. We all know that writers in publishing house stables are expected to apply all the corrections that their editors deem necessary. More fool them!

Why should Indies suffer this totally illogical practice as well? For many, myself included, we parted company with traditional publishing to get away from this less than satisfactory aspect of the writing game, and the often dictatorial way in which publishers rule over their writers, amongst other things.

I’ve given up counting the number of times I’ve heard fellow Indie’s complain about their editors, and the hard won money they’ve spent on their sometimes dubious services.

If you take the sensible decision to go it alone and self edit, you’ll soon find any errors and correct them. Whereas if you pay for an editor’s services, while they give the impression of doing a so-called professional job, what do they actually do for their often exhorbitant fee? Not enough! They only do half a job, then send it back to you to do the rest. What’s the point of that? A writer can do it all themselves and for no cost to them except time.

Yes your editor will tell you that they have judiciously gone through your manuscript, purportedly working their way through your story word by word, line by line, paragraph by paragraph, picking up on bad grammar, spelling mistakes, incorrect punctuation, plus suggesting you change this or that aspect of your story as if it was them who wrote the darned story in the first place, so that when pedants, armchair critics and literary snobs challenge you (and believe me they will), you can honestly say that your work was professionally edited.

Big deal!

Logic dictates that if someone is employing you as an editor to find all of the errors, that once found, you should correct them yourselves, not send the manuscript back to the writer to do your job for you! Otherwise, what’s the point of employing you in the first place. If a writer does the sensible thing and sends their manuscript to a few dedicated beta readers, hopefully they will point out any and all errors for free!

Remember this, no book is ever perfect. Even the very best editors employed by the major publishing houses will miss the minutiae, after all they are human just like the rest of us. Paying for an editor’s services, as they stand at the moment, is a waste of money. Before you even begin to show a profit from the sales of your books, you have to recoup your financial outlay first, ie, editing, layout, cover design. From a financial point of view its far better that you do it all yourself. Thinking about it, so-called professional editors are little more than failed writers.

If you are a truly dedicated Indie writer, don’t think that once you have written your manuscript that you have finished. You haven’t. Your work has only just begun. Above all don’t fall into the trap that your manuscript need the services of a paid ‘professional’ editor. It doesn’t. If you are any damned good, you will do it yourselves!

Here endeth today’s lesson…


9 thoughts on “Answer Me This If You Can

  1. Yes, a good writer must be a good speller (or spell checker), a good editor, and a good English teacher. If you can find a great editor that works for a reasonable price — and you can afford it — great. But editors like that are rare birds and often captured and placed in a gilded cage in the offices of a big publisher. That being the case, authors are well advised to do their own proofing.


  2. I agree. For one thing, anyone can call themselves a “professional editor.” There is no test of competency or certifying body. Editors create their reputations by the quality of their work (sort of like writers). A writer who wants to hire an editor must be prepared to engage in a thorough search and evaluation process before they fork over any money for services. And I also believe that an author must be able to self-edit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How I agree. A new chap at our little ( very little ) writers’ group told us he had found an agent, we were impressed; but the agent wanted him to set his novel in the present, not his specific year and change the point of view! It later transpired the agent wanted money off him… so that was the end of that! I may not sell many but my books are MINE all MINE! I always think painters aren’t told to change their painting – ‘I think you should have poppies instead of sunflowers’ or ‘she would look better if you showed her laughing’… why should we change what we have written.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.