Apr 27, 2017
- If you’ve written a book, you need an editor to read it and offer honest advice before you submit it for publication. A dispassionate, uninvolved gimlet eye is always necessary (and the same goes for theses and dissertations).
- First impressions matter. Readers are to books as Building Inspectors are to kitchens and bathrooms: they spot shoddy workmanship right away. If your pages are full of it’s which should be its, your instead of you’re, dashes and exclamation marks and misspellings – these things are the written equivalent of blocked drains and rattling windows. They don’t just lower expectation; they flatten it, hopelessly. A proofreader can fix these things. But you need more – you need honest advice on the entire work.
- In a reader’s report, an editor will tell you if she thinks the whole premise of the manuscript is good – or bad – and why; and perhaps that the story is eminently readable but in need of tweaking here and there; or that it needs restructuring and chapter rewrites; or that a character’s actions aren’t credible or the dialogue’s stilted. A lot of things can go wrong, even if in essence the book is original and exciting.
- You can find an editor from www.sfep.org.uk. That’s the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. Rates for writing a report are reasonable, and are based on the length and complexity of the text. You’ll get an informed professional’s detailed view of strengths and weaknesses and often, suggestions for improvements such as rewrites, proof corrections, structural adjustments, additions or excisions.