What Makes a Good Read?
A good book, if written well and edited properly, must connect with readers on an emotional level. There must be something in the book that hooks the reader from the minute they open the first page and until the last page has been flipped shut. A good editor can guide a writer through the process of what works well and what doesn't. View your editor as your test reader and worst critic, whose only job is to make you look good. I have read some really well-written and amazing self-published works, just as well as I have read some horrifyingly bad ones. (Let it also be known that not all traditionally published works are first-rate either.) And each time, the difference between the good and the bad has always been that one was professionally edited while the other was not.
When Self-Editing is Not Enough
Many writing forums argue that professional editing is not necessary as long as a writer can self-edit several times before publication. What is missing in this well-meaning advice is the fact that publishing a good book is not just about catching incorrect grammar and spelling errors, and even if it was, self-editing doesn't always catch all the errors. Besides that, professional editing is about structure, tone, voice, character development and so much more - something a professional editor can help bring to light. A book that reads like your first draft is not what readers want to read. They want a story that reflects care, talent, voice, emotion and so much more. An editor can help get you there.
A Beautiful Marriage
A good professional editor is the partner you need on your journey through the writing process. They are your professional coach, cheerleader, friend, confidante, and adviser all rolled up into one, and their main responsibility is to make sure you sound like your best possible self. A good professional editor knows about the publishing process, is a ferocious reader, most likely a writer too, and can offer the support authors need to make it from blank page to print.
Regardless of whether you choose to use a professional editor or not, remember that before all good reads go out to the reading public, they must go through a series of mills. Self-publishers often skip over these processes in an effort to either cut costs, satisfy their burning desire to get published, cut out what they see to be an unnecessary middle (wo)man, avoid criticism of their work, or for fear that a third-party edit will dilute their voice. However, any good editor worth his or her salt will know how to work with an author to address those fears and to maintain the integrity of the author's work. A good editor is there to help authors and not to hurt them, to make them better. And as an author, it is your responsibility to hire someone you can trust to deliver their best possible work. Your readers deserve the best from you, and trust me, they will remember if they don't get it. So, unless you plan on being a one-time author, you might want to consider your readers, for they will tell you in no uncertain terms the second time around, what they could not tell you before they went out and bought a copy of your first book. Allow them to trust your work as an author by giving them your best work the first time around, and they will be loyal to you throughout your writing life. Plus, you never know what opportunities are passing you by because you neglected to put care into your book. You never know who's going to pick
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