Why You Need an Editor

© 2017 Elizabeth M. Garrett

Good Manuscript + Good Editing = Recipe for Publishing Success

You’ve completed and reviewed your manuscript countless times. A close friend with a keen eye for details has read it, made suggestions, and sung your praises. You polish the story. At last, it’s ready for publication.

Then you realize the antagonist doesn’t appear until page 100. Plus, you’ve given a proper noun several different names and failed to clarify a secondary character. Such issues can cause considerable delays and frustration.

Investing in a good editor pays off in the end. Have you ever read a book but stopped halfway through because you couldn’t get past poor sentence structure?  A good editor can help prevent last-minute delays, inconsistencies, and errors which could prevent someone from finishing your story. If you are pursuing a traditional publisher, a poorly edited manuscript can cause immediate rejection.

Even if you’re good at self-editing, a fresh set of eyes can come along and point out things you wouldn’t normally overlook. After reading something numerous times, it’s easy to read past mistakes because you know what the copy should say.

Editing services are normally broken into the following categories:

  • Basic copy editing – reviews grammar, spelling, and punctuation; minor rewriting for the sake of clarity; and continuity errors.
  • Heavy copy editing – checks grammar, spelling, and punctuation; heavy rewriting for the sake of clarity; and continuity errors.
  • Line editing – focuses on paragraph structure, sentence flow, and word choice. Specifically, passive voice, wordiness, weak/overused words, redundancies, inconsistencies, and repetition.
  • Content or developmental editing – looks at the story’s structure in an early draft. Points out unrealistic dialogue, point of view errors, too much “telling,” flat and inconsistent characters, sagging middles, information dumps, and plot holes.
  • Proofreading – reviews proof copy for formatting issues introduced during the publishing process.

Some editors are more experienced than others, and prices range considerably. To research an editor, I recommend:

  1. comparing an editor’s rates to comparable services listed on Editorial Freelancers Association.
  2. getting a sample edit, which should be free or for a small fee.
  3. reviewing credentials and references.

Also, you may want to interview them, ask about turnaround time, and see if they would be a good for fit for you.


Having a good editor with whom you have a great working relationship can play a vital role in your writing success.
Elizabeth M. Garrett fulfills her God-given purpose by writing, editing, and serving as a public relations coach through her business, Polish Point Editing. With thirty years of experience in public relations and editing, she has just completed writing the “Masterclass in Public Relations for Authors” available through booksgosocial.com. Her creative works, both fiction and non-fiction, have been published in three collections, with another one on the way. 

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