The second set of eyes is very important to a piece of writing. Most in the business will tell everyone and anyone that it is important to hire an editor once that manuscript is completed. Investing in a good editor is certainly encouraged and is likely to make your work something a little bit better than it is. An editor could very well give you the opportunity to discover something you may not have noticed, potentially breathing some further fresh air onto your work.
What if you would prefer to edit your own? When I told some of my colleagues that my wife edited my first script the first time, then I did a final three rounds of editing, I was surprised at the reaction I received. My excuse for not hiring a professional editor was that I simply did not want to spend the money. A personal choice.
Since I am also planning to release my second book under my own label, and I still feel like holding on to the money I would spend on hiring an editor, the task of editing has fallen to me by choice.
Why edit my own work? One of the reasons is I enjoy the process immensely. It is work and this is part of my work which is just as enjoyable as writing itself.
Certainly I am not suggesting that we stop giving work to editors. Editing is part of my service portfolio and something I am happy to get paid for when freelance clients request it. What I am doing is challenging you all to consider taking something you are working on solely for yourself and edit it yourself. If you have a completed script sit down and read it like you would a novel. Treat it as part of your reading material. Print the pages then take out a red pen and make your own marks on them. Always look for ways to make your work better. Enjoy the product you have created.
With freelance work, editing your productions before you pass them in to the client is a given. This is likely part of the reason you are getting paid for the work. In the instance where your client wants to suggest changes, learn from them. I have often been very surprised at how much additional knowledge one can pick up just through simple feedback.
If I am to submit a book to a publisher in the future and they tell me that a staff editor will review my work, that will be an opportunity I will look forward to being part of. Editors that work for good publishers recognize the value of excellent work and will make the suggestions necessary without compromising the artistic integrity of the writing.
Have any of you out there published your books without hiring an editor? Have you consulted a colleague, family member or friend to review your work? I am certain there are more of you who have taken this direction once in a while.
Dann Alexander is the Author of “Planned UnParenthood Creating a Life Without Procreating”, available through Amazon, Chapters/Indigo/Coles stores in Canada (via online ordering) and other online retailers worldwide.