Whether or not to hire an editor before self-publishing is quite the debate. Most people know where I stand—if my name is being associated with something, I want to make sure that it is the best effort I can put out at that time. Even if that means saving up and postponing the release of a book until I have the money for an editor.
On one hand, many people argue they have enough beta readers, friends and family to do a very good job at catching the punctuation, grammar, and selling mistakes within their work. On the other hand, editors—GOOD editors—do so much more.
Here’s the thing. In my own experience, as each person’s varies significantly, editors will catch the nitty-gritty, finicky and bothersome problems above, as well as catch things like whether everything is staying within context. They will look over your characters as they are written and let you know if their mannerisms have changed unexpectedly. They will remind you (possibly for the six-hundredth time) about the difference between ‘past’ and ‘passed’ and ‘breath’ and ‘breathe’.
Editors are, or at least SHOULD be, unbiased. What I mean is, they will make their suggestions and criticisms based on the work you sent to them, and that only. They don’t care if you have been up late, bleary eyed with a baby and that’s why you dropped out on the descriptions of one situation, they don’t care if you have been sick and rushed through a chapter. Of course, they should care. And if they are really invested in your work, they will be. But they won’t allow you to use this as an excuse.
Sometimes, the sympathy our helpers like friends and family give our writing can be detrimental to the process of publishing and as growing as writers.
Now, I have seen both scenarios—indie authors who self-edit with the aid of a few unprofessional helpers, and those who dish out hundreds and thousands for professional help. And, in both cases, I have seen both good and bad results. But, for anyone who hasn’t had a professional edit their work, I say go for it. Just once. See what comes of it.
I guarantee you, once you find that editor that’s right for you, as not all are meant for every writer, your writing and editing will grow in leaps and bounds.
And that book, or poem, or essay you are releasing? It might just go from a good piece of writing to a masterpiece…