Do You Really Need an Editor When Self-Publishing?

It’s an editor’s job to go over your content and make sure it’s grammatically correct and flows in a logical order. They closely examine the writing for even the smallest issues, such as comma usage. Because it’s so easy to publish your own material online today, many people may decide to opt out of using an editor. Is this something that could hurt your future as a successful author?

Why an Editor Is Important

comma useYou finally finished that perfect novel and are ready to publish. You’re too excited and want to get it up on sites like CreateSpace.com and LuLu.com as soon as possible. As you’re getting ready to upload your finished product, you pause and think to yourself, “should I have this edited?”

Having a second pair of eyes go over your material can be very helpful in the quality of your writing. There may be all kinds of things you either forget to include or don’t realize when you’re creating your own piece. For instance, I read “Beginning of the End” carefully seven times before publishing it on Wattpad. My wife and mother-in-law still found a few grammatical errors I missed, and obvious ones at that.

Considering how my wife isn’t a professional editor, it makes me wonder just how many other minor mistakes I made.

Education and Grammar

Most editors will have a strong command of the English language, and most of them may have college degrees in literature and language arts. I’m not saying that you need a degree in order to be an editor. But education does exponentially help. It’s this collection of knowledge why hiring someone to peruse your work is the most helpful. Not all potential authors have college degrees, or even correspondence courses, to strengthen their work.

Seeing Things You Don’t

Don't DespairAs a freelance ghostwriter on Textbroker, my content is constantly under scrutiny by an editor. They often find the smallest things that I miss. Even though I proofread every piece before sending it to a client, sometimes small errors get past me.

Some experts believe this happens because of personal familiarity. You’re the creator of the piece, so it’s easy to glance over mistakes your mind thinks are correct. Even when it’s an obvious mistake, your connection to the content skews your perception of it. An editor may never have seen the piece before, which gives him or her a fresh outlook when reading the content.

Your Professionalism

One of the most important aspects to consider hiring an editor is to polish up your material. It’s all about giving people a sense of professionalism that can drive popularity. Would you read a novel if it was riddled with spelling errors and had a poor flow from one sentence to the next?

I don’t even read blogs if they are filled with spelling errors. For me, it shows that the developer didn’t care about the content or if I would enjoy the piece. It’s all about presenting yourself as a professional writer whether the project is for a client or for your own audience.




What if I can’t afford to hire an editor?

If you’re like me, you might simply be too poor to hire an editor to fine-tune your material. In this case, you need to consider whether waiting is more ideal than the instant gratification of self-publishing your work today.

If I remember right, my mother and sister both paid about $400 for editing fees on their novels. Angela’s book is on the right side of this website, by the way. For me, $400 is a lot of money. I’m barely breaking even paying the bills at the moment, but I also have other situations going on right now that are preventing me from making more. Anyway, not everyone can afford a couple hundred dollars just to make sure the content is straight.

Personally, I think my first actual publishing is going to be sans-editor. However, I am going to have my wife go over the novel with a fine-tooth comb. Even though she isn’t a professional editor, she does read more than anyone I know and has been able to pick my work apart quite efficiently.

I’m not saying that this is the best way to edit your content before publishing. If you think about it, I’m putting my professionalism at the hands of my wife. How about that for trust?

Do people really care about grammar that much?

eBooksAs a ghostwriter who develops content for major businesses, grammar and punctuation are cornerstones for professionalism. Even though the average Internet user has an 8th-grade reading level, making sure the content flows perfectly is pivotal for success. Even if you have college degrees in your industry, most people won’t trust what you say if you can’t deliver it well.

The same thing can be said for self-publishing. Many of your target readers may not point out the faults in your text, but the ones that can be influential in success will. For example, you don’t see a lot of the New York Time’s Best Sellers filled with grammatical errors and confusing materials. Well, with the exception of Stephen King’s “It.” That book was just too much for me.

Will not having an editor hurt the sales of my book?

One of the biggest marketing tactics for any content is getting influencers to share it. This is true whether you’re writing a blog about cats or creating an elaborate series of horror novels. These people can be everyone from corporate book stores to Grandma sharing it on Facebook with her bridge buddies. Influencers such as these can directly affect the success of any given novel.

For instance, Barnes and Noble will be less likely to sell your book if it looks horrible to the average reader from a grammatical sense. Those who can share your blog post with millions of their followers may not do so if the content is poorly developed. This doesn’t include how readers affect sales by sharing your novel with friends and family, especially on social media.

Having an editor will greatly reduce these risks in selling future copies of your book. This doesn’t mean that you won’t become a household sensation without one. However, it may make a huge impact in how others see your work from a professional standpoint.

What Do You Want Out of the Work?

Blogging for MoneyThe bottom line is what you want to accomplish out of your hard work. If you want to see your name in print and don’t care about success, then self-publishing without an editor is cheaper. But if you want to get more from the experience and work on gaining popularity among many, investing in someone to edit your work is more ideal.

An elegant and amazing piece of grammatically correct content should be your primary goal. However, it’s not absolutely necessary to have an editor to accomplish this when self-publishing. It’s up to you if you want to take your future success into your own hands in such a manner.

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Michael

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 5,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel.

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