Every author hears advice, such as: You have to hire an editor. Don’t think about publishing your book without getting it edited by someone other than you. Get a professional editor for your work.

But why can’t an author edit his or her own work? They’re writers, right?

Well, of course authors need to self-edit their work. And they can do a fairly decent job of it. The problem is, they’re too close to the material. They’ve spent hours, weeks, months, and maybe even years working on the manuscript. They know it inside and out. They’re attached to it and probably don’t really want anyone to change a word.

But every author needs a second pair of eyes. Eyes attached to an impartial judge. Someone who hasn’t read the manuscript, and who can read it now with a fresh point-of-view. That’s where an editor comes in.

An editor will read the whole manuscript. He/she will look for plot holes, for discrepancies, for viewpoint problems, and for other types of errors. An editor will make suggestions, where needed. An editor will also look at pacing, and voice.

After that, an editor will make line-edits. Line-edits address the wording of the text. It focuses on the way you use language. Is your language clear? Is it focused? Does it convey the mood, tone, and emotion you want? Do you vary your sentence lengths? Does your wording flow? Does it utilize metaphors or similes sometimes? Does it avoid cliches and broad generalizations?

An editor will change sentences to avoid repetition and extraneous or over-used words. An editor may also do copy editing, which focuses on grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation. An editor will also ensure consistency.

When the author gets his/her edited manuscript back with the edits, it can be overwhelming to see all the red lines and notations and rearranging of words. But after the author reads through it all and then produces a clean copy with the edits incorporated, they are usually thrilled with the results. Now their manuscript is polished and ready for a final proofread.

It really is true that all authors need an editor. Some authors hire professional editors–and there are many available. You can usually get recommendations from author friends. Some authors are lucky and have a friend or relative who is capable of serving as their editor. Other authors exchange editing services with other authors.

Getting your book edited doesn’t have to break the bank. But it is important to find an editor that you feel comfortable with.

I hope my advice helps you!