I will make this post short and sweet. I’ll list my pros and my cons for hiring an editor and not hiring an editor. An editor is just another expensive writer with literary degrees or in the process of obtaining a literary degree.
Why should you hire an editor?
- You have absolutely no idea what past, present, and future tenses are. You don’t know what a gerund is.
- You tell more than you show.
- You have no idea what point of view is.
- You have no idea what a plot is.
- You don’t understand the differences between major plots and minor plots.
- You don’t understand what a run-on sentence is.
- You have the habitual use of killing us with accidental point of view slip-ups. Meaning you write your story in first or third person and you slip into second person.
- You never heard of verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, or nouns.
- You beat us with em dashes, commas, and various other syntax problems.
- You don’t understand what you’re writing. What genre does your book fall into?
- You can’t give people a synopsis of your book.
- You become the author who HATES critical feedback on your “precious” book.
- You picked up a thesaurus but you neglected to pick up grammar books.
- You don’t understand what a character archetype is.
- You overuse and abuse dialogue tags when two characters are talking.
- Your can’t remember your plots.
- You keep repeating the same damn words on every page.
- You don’t understand your chosen genre very well. Just the other day, I noticed a self-published author place her erotica book in children’s books. No… just NO!
If you don’t understand those things, go hire an editor. Nobody forced you to hire one but it will save you from critics like me. I have an eye for catching errors. BUT! Here’s a huge but… even the best books have grammatical errors in them. J.K. Rowling admitted that she hated books 1-3 of her Harry Potter series because she had errors. Let’s tell the truth… publishing companies are publishing tripe. Tripe that is way worse than self-published books. It makes self-published authors ticked off to see grammar errors from traditionally published companies. I thought they had a team of editors? Truth be told, no editor can find all the errors. I’ve hired two editors in the past. Both failed to understand present tense and didn’t notice the point of views. I paid for commas and the removal of commas.
Why shouldn’t you hire an editor?
- You lose the flaws and essence to your novels/books.
- Let’s be honest here… editors are expensive. They can cost anywhere from free (if you obtain a student in college) to $10,000. That’s in dollars, not CENTS as one editor listed on his website. Instead of working with payment plans for whatever a self-published author can afford, they expect that money upfront.
- It’s called Indie publishing for a reason. The less hands touching your novel, the better.
- Editors fail to catch your errors. And these are easy errors. Sometimes they mess it up even worse than when you started.
- Editors don’t understand tenses or point of views.
- They’ve already let books like Fifty Shades on the loose. Talk about a book that needed extensive editing. We can argue that she started off as a self-published author. But the moment a traditional publishing company took her book, they should have extensively edited her series. How many “oh my’s” can you handle. Sorry, guys… you want to blast me for mine but give her book five-stars?
- You understand verbs, tenses, and point of views.
- You’re able to understand plots.
- You understand everything in the English grammar books.
- You understand character archetypes.
- You understand that dialogue is just a normal conversation. Conversations are normally short and to the point. Believe me, I’ve read traditionally published novels that had their characters ramble on for an entire chapter! And you guys are publishing this tripe? A conversation should be like talking to your friends, lovers, parents, and phone conversations. Don’t make dialogue more complicated than it is. That’s where you get stiff dialogue. People don’t say the correct tenses when they speak. Anything that goes in dialogue, cannot be held against you. Except when it’s stiff or rambles on forever.
- You have a team of beta readers. Those guys are better than editors at times. Join a writer’s group. Don’t have your family members or your lovers become beta readers. For $4,000 you can have your book read on Netgalley. They say it’s free.
- You have an excellent marketing strategy. Fifty Shades is proof that you don’t need a great editor. All you need is an excellent marketing strategy.
- You know where your story is going.
- They didn’t always have editors around.
- Nobody can agree on proper grammar usage. We have the American-English and the UK-English. Neither can agree with spelling or syntax.
- Words are meant to be interchanged. The word may be currently used as this but the other definition tells you that you can use it differently.
- You know the difference between UK-English and American-English. In USA, we use the word “gray.” In the UK, they spell it “grey.” Both words mean the same thing. It depends on the region, you’re from. Instead of z’s in their words, they spell it with s’s. Recognize/recognise… favorite/favourite… organize/organise. Realize/realise. Trashcan/dustbin. Elevator/lift. You see the problem here? We can’t even agree to have one English language. No wonder, English is a hard language to learn. We’ve confused people. Speak English! Which one? In the USA, we use -ed as our endings. In the UK, they use -t as their ending for past tense. Dreamed/dreamt.
You can take this anyway you want. If you want to hire an editor, hire one. If you believe you have a great grasp of the English language and you’re stubborn, don’t hire one. Let’s not make it more complicated than it needs to be. All these people with masters and infinite degrees, need to decide on one English language. That way, all of us won’t be pinged with a one-star review. If someone from the UK reads a book that comes from the USA, we’re going to be slammed. If you remain consistent, you don’t need an editor. If you have no fucking clue what you’re doing, hire an editor. They are your allies. But make sure that editor checks out. There are writers who are posing as editors. If they self-publish, check their ratings. Ask the other authors, they’ve worked with in the past. Would you hand your money and your baby to a complete stranger? “Here… take my kid. I haven’t checked you out but I’m sure you can babysit my child.” Only idiots give out free money. “But, but, but… I don’t have money for an editor!”That’s why we have kick-starter campaigns. Look for them. Or here’s an even better concept… SAVE! Put away $10.00 a week or $20.00 a week. We’re all on tight budgets. Get a job. Get two extra jobs. If you don’t know those things listed above, you better start saving. If you don’t want to hire an editor, good luck with your book. I’m not telling you to hire one or not hire one.
Do I have an editor? NOPE. I’m a control freak. I need complete control over my books. I bought grammar books and studied like a mofo (motherfucker). If I made up a new word in my books, I italicize it. That’s a dead giveaway, I know this word isn’t real. As much as I loathe the word “gray,” I use it because I’m from the good ole’ USA.
The choice is ultimately yours to make. I can’t force you to hire one or not hire one. They are crazy expensive. If you don’t hire one, make sure you put your manuscript away for a month. That way you can have a fresh mind. Study like a mofo.