Hidden benefits of hiring an editor
When you hire a professional editor, the obvious benefit is a polished work as free of typos and mistakes as it possibly can be, but there are a few less obvious benefits as well.
I am all about upholding industry standards in the self-publishing biz. I catch mistakes in my own writing all the time. In fact, I guarantee you'll find one in this blog post. I proofread my own work, and just like the authors I work with, my eye will likely skate over whatever is missing or out of place because of my familiarity with my own writing.
This is the number one reason I tell authors to hire an editor. Second to that, software like Grammarly and PerfectIt don't always catch word use errors or spelling errors (incorrect word but spelled correctly). Don't get me wrong, I run PerfectIt on manuscripts I'm working on a couple of times throughout the process of editing and proofreading. It has caught errors that I would have otherwise missed. What PerfectIt can't do, however, is the human side of editing, which shouldn't be discounted.
When you hire an editor, you want above all to receive high-quality, professional edits. This does not mean your manuscript will be 100% error-free. No editor or proofreader who is honest will promise that. (If they do, run the other way!)
Most authors seeking an editor are looking for one for a variety of reasons. Maybe they're worried about receiving bad book reviews. Or maybe they know that consistency in grammar and spelling just isn't their strength, but darn it, they have a great story to tell. Or maybe they want someone to come alongside them in the self-publishing journey because it can be a winding and lonely road sometimes.
Indie authors may know all of the above but still harbor doubts about the care that an editor will take with their work. I see it all the time in author groups where questions float around like: How do I know an editor won't steal my work, or what if the editor changes my story significantly?
These are natural fears to have, but thankfully, professional editors aren't in the business of editing to steal and destroy stories. Quite the opposite!
At the very least, the primary goal of any editing service is to provide the author with thorough and honest editing suggestions. This means tracking changes made to the document and querying anything questionable using comments. Asking for a sample edit from a potential editor is a great way to get an idea of whether the editor will provide the basics.
Beyond the basics, I want authors to know that I make a few other commitments to them when I sign the service agreement, including:
Preserving their unique style and voice. Any edits I make are designed to help the author's story shine in the way they have written it, not to replace it with an alternative version written in my voice.
Taking on the role of teammate and cheerleader. I take whatever action I can to help promote the books I edit (with privacy and permissions in mind, of course!) because I am proud of the work I do and the accomplishments of the author who worked so hard to get to publication day.
Being a problem solver. Whatever difficulty the author may have, whether it's noun-verb agreement, untangling a wordy paragraph, or eliminating filler words, I stand ready to find a solution that works for the author and their novel.
Editing with compassion. I could write an entire blog post on this. Compassion is highly underrated nowadays. There is a misconception that feedback is necessarily harsh and that authors should approach their edited manuscript with a sense of dread. I want to eliminate that notion entirely. I can comment honestly about the way something is written without attacking the author in a personal way or without inserting my own opinion.
So while I can't promise a perfect manuscript, I can promise that with quality editing authors can feel confident in publishing a manuscript that reflects their credibility as storytellers, and most importantly, that tells the story they want to tell.