Your Editor is Your Best Friend

Writing can be a confusing job, especially for the non-writers in our lives. Case in point, the number of times I've been asked to edit or proofread something by a well-meaning friend, family member, or colleague is endless. While I appreciate that my occupational status as a writer automatically instills faith from others in my assumed editing skills, I'm the last person that should edit anyone's words. Here's why: I'm a writer not an editor. While they're related (I think of us as cousins), these are two different occupations.

For those of us who are brave enough to self-publish our work (I like the phrase independently publish rather than self-publish because it takes more than one person to get a book published, but more on that later), hiring an editor is not an option, it's a necessity.

A freelance editor can look at your work with a pair of fresh eyes and bring to your manuscript a new perspective, as well as their expertise. Remember, it's their job to make our work the best it can be. As writers, our job is to write. While I know many of us edit our own work (I'm guilty of this), an editor can elevate the quality of an author's work. With their trained eye, they can find and troubleshoot problem areas that authors often miss, no matter how many times and how carefully they proofread their work.

The editing process is one of the parts of publishing I enjoy the most. Each time, I allow myself to be open to learning more about my own writing directly from the editor, i.e., what are common mistakes I make? How can I fix these? What are my strengths as a writer? I always take the feedback I receive from an editor and find ways that I can apply their comments and suggestions to my other literary works, not just the one they're editing. By looking at working with an editor as a collaborative learning process, I am becoming a better writer with each book I write.

David-Matthew Barnes