You are self-publishing, so why do you need an editor? You know your book better than anyone else right? An editor will just twist it into something different, something wrong, they won’t understand it.
But that is not true at all! An editor can see things you can’t. An editor wants to help you make your book into what you envision. The type of editor to help you do that is a developmental editor (Yes, I know, there are so many different types of editors!).
When you have finished your manuscript, when you believe you have written all you can write, that is when you seek out a good developmental editor. When you go the traditional publishing route your main editor is essentially a developmental editor. They are the editor that gets to know your book as if they had written it.
A developmental editor is looking for larger issues, not whether you used the correct “you’re” or “your.” They keep an eye out for plot holes, inconsistencies, flow, character development, plot development, hooks, pacing, structure, voice, dialogue, and the list goes on! Ever worry that your dialogue is stilted? A developmental editor will help you find ways to smooth out the speech patterns and give each character their own voice. Worried that your plot twist is predictable? They will help you hint at it without giving away the whole kit and caboodle. A developmental editor makes sure that the reader roots for the character you want them to (instead of your least favorite character!) and makes sure that your characters grow and develop throughout the story.
Most people will look past typos (although, believe me, they are distracting!), but they won’t look past a bad storyline. If the ending is unsatisfactory or abrupt, the reader will remember the book unfavorably, and will probably give it a bad review. An editor knows how the reader is going to feel, because they are essentially your reader. The main difference between an editor and a reader is that an editor will know how to fix it and how to help you. It is basically like hiring the most informed, helpful, and knowledgeable reader that wants your book to succeed.
"It is basically like hiring the most informed, helpful, and knowledgeable reader that wants your book to succeed."
Nowadays, self-publishing is a great option for authors. But it is flooded with terrible writing and terrible books. People think that they can write anything, as long as it is finished, and become a bestselling self-published author. So much more than just “writing” goes into a good book. It needs editing, revisions, and contemplative thought. No matter how good a writer you are you just can’t catch everything, and you can’t be objective; you need an editor.
Writing is a very personal act and authors can view their books as extensions of themselves. When your novel or work is that intimate, it can be hard to be objective. That is where a developmental editor comes in. Editing can help an author polish their piece and turn it into the best possible version. Readers can then better connect and access the work.
It can be scary to submit your novel to the world; an editor can help ease some of those worries.
This post was originally written for Just Publishing