So you want to be reviewed? Hire an editor.

by Nalini Haynes

You’ve written your novel, novella or short story. Your MAGNUM OPUS. It’s BRILLIANT. Now you want to share it with the world. You’ve decided to self-publish or be published by small press.

STOP.

You may be absolutely positively THE MOST TALENTED AUTHOR IN THE WORLD but you still need an editor. If you’re self-published, you need to hire your own editor to help you polish your manuscript, your pride and joy.

You wouldn’t take grubby children to a professional photographer; you’d check to make sure they’re clean and tidy before spending $hitload$ on a portrait.

You shouldn’t publish a ‘grubby’ manuscript without an editor to make sure your manuscript is polished before asking your readers to $pend on your work.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. If you want readers to become fans, you need to make a good impression.

An editor, a real-live professional reader-of-things-for-money, can help you make a good first impression by checking that

  • what you said is what you meant
  • what you said makes sense
  • your characters are believable
  • your plot arcs without huge holes

An editor can also check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. If you hire a multiskilled person, your editor may even be able to design your book and convert it into printing and eBook formats.

Lately it seems every man and his dog is starting a publishing house. This may seem like a golden opportunity for authors but the same rules about FIRST IMPRESSIONS and EDITING YOUR MANUSCRIPT still apply.

  • If your publisher can’t manage copywriting for a crowd funding campaign that includes actual spaces between the full stop and the following sentence,
  • If your publisher can’t manage to produce an eBook with correct (or at least mostly correct) punctuation and spelling,
  • If your publisher has no training or experience in editing,

THEN YOU STILL NEED AN EDITOR.

As an author, just starting out, if you want to make a good impression, GET AN EDITOR.

I don’t care if your publisher claims to be an editor. I could claim to be a plumber but I still can’t change a washer in a tap.

If your work is being published, make sure a competent editor polishes your manuscript first.

When people ask me if I’ll review their work, my first question is ‘Did an editor work on your manuscript?’ (Professional mentors from organisations like Writers Victoria count as editors.)

If the answer is ‘yes an editor worked on my novel’ THEN AND ONLY THEN do I look at the pitch for a book.

So. Hire an editor.

Update:

The day after I published this rant, Darrell Pitt’s blog on Writers Victoria’s website was posted. Among other things, Darrell said,

I found that editing and cover design were vitally important to producing a quality product. 

Rant over.

Coming soon: pitching your book to a reviewer. The short version: don’t send me a link and expect me to research your novel.