Monday, January 8, 2018

The Importance of Good Editing

I’m a big fan of e-books. Nothing is more convenient when I’m traveling or sitting in a waiting room than having my Amazon Fire handy with all my downloaded reading material. I’ve read many novels and nonfiction books over the past year on this device. One thing has stood out in many of them—one thing that is frustrating for a professional writer: poor editing.

I won’t name specific titles, but I have posted reviews on this blog regarding some of them. These works contain comma splices and run-on sentences; dangling and misplaced modifiers; paragraph breaks at the wrong places; missing, repeated, misspelled, and misused words; and punctuation errors of all types. I’m not talking about an instance here or there. These errors were consistent, occurring throughout. Most of these books are self-published, but some came from traditional houses, and while many had terrific plots and characters or great information, the poor editing got in the way of an enjoyable read. 

There is no excuse for any author not to put his or her best work forward. One’s reputation depends on it. If you are an indie author, that means taking the time to have the manuscript professionally edited and proofread. If you intend to seek out a traditional publisher—whether large or small—and this lack of professionalism plagues your manuscript, pay to have these tasks accomplished before you submit your work and risk a rejection slip. Yes, it costs, unless you can barter with someone who has the required expertise. Hire a person who edits books for a living—not a friend or a spouse who doesn’t. 

I won’t bother reading any more books by the people whose unedited and unproofread works wasted my precious time. No author who is serious about his or her writing future would want this reaction from a reader. It’s sad, because these writers’ reputations have been ruined at the beginnings of their careers.

Don’t let your manuscript be one that gets a bad review over mistakes that are easily rectified with the proper effort. Keep your reputation intact and the future of your career bright. Take the time and spend the money to have your book professionally edited and proofread to increase your chances of getting glowing reviews.

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