The Importance of Editing

One of the most common questions I receive is, “Why isn’t my book selling?”  The answer is usually painful to hear.  Avoiding that question altogether lies in tackling another question early in the publishing process, “What will prevent my book from selling?”

Editing is one of the absolute factors that will influence your book sales. The degree to which you personally edit your thoughts and writing, combined with the degree to which you invest in professional editing will ultimately play a large role in developing reader comfort.  A great edit will not ensure your book sells, but it will definitely eliminate one of the largest potential detractors that might prevent book sales.

Some authors decide against getting their books edited.  It takes time, can be expensive, and can be emotionally invasive.  After putting your heart and soul into something, it can be very difficult to hear what needs to be fixed.  By definition, editing is critical, so it’s not at all uncommon to see authors avoid it like the plague.  When I wrote my first book I did not initially have it professionally edited, and it was one of the larger mistakes I made in my first foray into publishing.  I thought that I was saving money and time, but in the end I was mistaken on both counts.  It did not save me time and ended up costing me more in the long run.

The truth of the matter is that even extremely experienced writers have their works professionally edited.   Traditional publishing houses put every book through a minimum of two edits.

Professional editors are trained to put their own personal feelings aside and focus on enhancing your work.  There is a significant difference between having a professional do the job and letting a friend edit your book.  Friends have a tendency to be less critical than is helpful.  Although they may have the best intentions, their ability to ensure the essence of your book is conveyed properly generally falls short.

The two questions that are probably on your mind at this point are, “How much editing do I need”, and  “How much is it going to cost?”   Every manuscript is different.  Fortunately there is an inexpensive way to address both questions: an Editor’s Analysis.  Lulu offers this professional service; designed to help authors get a feel for how professional editing can enhance the quality of their works and, ultimately, improve the reader comfort level.

So whether you’re just starting your work or wondering why it isn’t selling the way you would like, it’s always a good time to think about editing.

Happy Publishing!

16 thoughts on “The Importance of Editing”

  1. A manuscript is uncooked fish, the editor a sushi chef. The editor crafts the fish into a thing of delight, bringing out the best of the fish. Without the editor, a manuscript – no matter how fine – is just raw fish. If left that way, it will, in time, stink.

  2. Editing does not necessarily mean it will sell that depends on if your product is of the interest of the buyer but it is absolutely necessary as every writer himself can’t judge his own work. It has to be judged by professionals. The beauty of your craft lies in the eyes of others. Their window dressing will ultimately help sell your product. I absolutely agree. Without editing by the professional one should not venture into publishing the book.

  3. As an editor, not an author, I haven’t needed to use Lulu’s editing analysis service, so I can’t speak to what they offer. I can say that an editor will do more than analyze your work. An editor will pore over it several times, looking for mistakes and inconsistencies, and noting places where words, sentences, paragraphs and even entire chapters might be improved or rearranged to increase readability. And once the book is ready to go to print, a proofreader will look for the tiny mistakes everyone else overlooked and check for any last-minute errors introduced during the revision process.

  4. Brahm,
    Every manuscript is different in the sense that the quality of the writing from grammar to the flow of the content will require a varied level of editing. So yes, the cost will be different. That is why we first do an Editor’s Analysis to give the publisher an idea of what extent of work will be needed prior to doing the full edit.

  5. Guas…thanks for your words of wisdom! You are correct, editing is not the only element that will help sell a book. It does help. An author needs to set realistic expectations and if the goal is to sell their book to the public, before they invest in marketing…creating the best possible product (book) they can, should include an edit.

  6. Marlene,
    I appreciate your professional feedback. Our Editor’s Analysis is the first step in the editing process. For those authors taking their first steps at publishing, it is a way to show them what work needs to be done to their manuscript and they then move on to the edit. There are many authors who go back to the drawing board and some find they are ready for a full edit. We absolutely provide a professional edit on the entire manuscript as you have detailed in your post. 🙂
    Thank you!

  7. The Importance to Editing
    Is it editing or proofreading or perhaps a bit of both. If you can’t afford professional help, is it the end of the line for your manuscript.
    Once my raw manuscript is completed, I use ten step from first read through, then to recheck spelling, grammar, punctuation, text to speech (read it back to yourself aloud – very important), word usage, timelines, the draft text, my critique step (a copy for friends and family to read through), and so to the final draft.
    I also recommend the technique of reading your manuscript from back to front. Starting on the last page and progressing back to page one. I highlight a page at a time to be read (top to bottom of course) by my Text to Speech generator.
    One of the beauties of the reverse pass is checking out what I call repeats. What I mean by this is the times when a character is referring to earlier event. In following the storyline backwards, it sometimes highlights the closeness of words chosen and prompts a review of the two areas of text
    A bane is punctuation if not sentence construction. The subject can be never ending. My father learnt Latin in his schooldays I tried to get my head around the grammar as some think it has a good influence on English sentence construction. Either way punctuation in managing those groups of words that relate to each other, is supposedly to help clarify the meaning of the sentence and I would hope the paragraph as a whole. Just to add confusing an unnecessary comma in separating word groups of a sentence can also be used to create the effect of suspense.
    If all this is not enough then getting your layouts to behave on the page by checking the format through viewing your pdf file just adds to the frightening hill you have to climb to get self-published.
    For those just starting out checkout my Free Download on putting together and laying out your first novel.

  8. Sherrie,
    What will help all writers on their editing? I mean I’m good at editing, but then again I start to think that what I’ve just edited doesn’t sound right…

  9. that is an honest blog about editing. It will enable people to know the simple truth. It has even changed my notion. Tanks for the proper explanation. Good luck!

  10. Sylva Portoian

    I wrote many times to your site wanted my e mail to go through …they ask how many words and how many pages…
    I wrote many times still doesn’t accept because my subject is poetry …
    So my words are less than 10,000
    and pages 72-75 maximum…
    Please help me
    I have forwarded the manu

  11. Hi Sylva –
    We’re glad you reached out here. Our editing team has reached out to you via email.
    Very Best,

  12. Editor’s Soul
    I am asking for a soul
    To assess poems I scroll.
    I need some one to correct
    And put my poems on skate.
    I’m reaching to be depressed
    Needing psychiatrist at the end.
    Poetically, I spring all types of fold,
    Linguistically, I stay behind crossed…!
    If there is a bard
    Who can read
    I am happy to forfeit
    To thy soulful breathing heat.
    At the shaded end…
    Cents will decay,
    May suddenly fade
    While poems will Ignite
    To the end!
    Sylva Portoian,MD
    June 2007
    From poetry collection
    “Millennium Brains’ Lacrimate,” 2009

  13. sabiiti anthony

    writing is a process, you have to move foward, and backwards and then foward. This means that you begin with a draft and then work towards refining it.The refinement process will entail cutting, adding and re-ordering.
    The purpose of all these changes is to make or improve the communication.While editing and revising our work, the following have to be considered ;

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