Go Straight to Publish, Do Not Pass Editor

I know what some of you are thinking. You are thinking, “With self-publishing as easy as uploading a Word Doc, I don’t really need an editor for my work, do I?”

I want you to find something heavy, perhaps a cue ball or a half a brick. Now, drop it on your foot.

Do you still think you don’t need an editor?

Pick it up and do it again, until you have driven editor-free thoughts from your mind.

You need an editor.

Please understand that is the universal you I speak of. I need an editor too.

Every writer needs an editor.

Say that three times a day first thing when you wake up. It’s good for you.

Why am I so adamant? Well, I have a confession to make. I was that guy.

My first book was not professionally edited. And man, does it show. But here’s the rub. It wasn’t apparent to me then. I thought my novel was awesome, was an outstanding piece of work fit to sit on shelves with Anne McCafferey and Neil Gaiman. I could see the movie deal in my head. Charlize Theron herself would be calling me and trying to get a spot as Syrah, sure as anything.

Disillusionment is a bitch, friends.

Now that I have a trunk novel that was edited into a puddle of ink and a second published novel, I have learned the necessity of editors. My trunk novel was professionally edited. And, had I hired her earlier, she may have been able to save it. The trouble was, I’d rewritten it without feedback so many times that by the time my editor got a hold of it, the story was too hot of a mess to retrieve.

I spent $400 for her services, and never published the work. Now, you may be shouting at your screen, “Damn it, Tina, you said editors were important!”

They are. I learned more from my editor’s revisions than I had in any three writing classes I’d taken. I turned those skills around for my next novel, which I just released. And in my special thanks section, you’ll note that I had three editors. This isn’t including my writing group, who at different times had access to sections of my novel as well, or my beta readers.

My first book was edited, but not by a professional. All of us were fumbling around with becoming published authors at the time. I told myself that was enough, because I was not prepared for the upfront costs of a professional. I wasn’t willing to make the investment because I was too new to appreciate what the investment would provide. My second book is far and away a better story, based on the work I did with a seasoned professional. No novel is perfect, but I know that because of the work it received, it does deserve to be on bookshelves with the greats. Indie isn’t an excuse to cut corners. It’s a willingness to take on all the work yourself, and the cost.

No one said it was going to be easy.