Four Reasons Why You Need an Editor

You’ve spent hours—if not days, weeks, or years—putting more than just words on a page. You’ve scrutinized sentences, nitpicked through paragraphs, and rearranged entire sections until you’ve finally perfected that work of art: your writing.

Why on Earth would you want to hand it over to someone else to pry it apart or—dare I say—revise it?

Because editors do not live to revise your words; we live to be part of the creative process. Most editors, myself included, are drawn to editing because we are avid readers, lovers of knowledge, and excited by grammatically correct, well-written passages that captivate readers.

Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, an editor’s fresh set of eyes can do wonders for your project.

Here are four simple—but indispensable—reasons to hire an editor.

1. Editors Catch the Nitty-Gritty Errors

A few years ago I thought I knew grammar rules pretty well. Then I completed UCSD’s certificate program, and I learned way more than I thought I would have. By the end, I was looking at sentences like a botanist studying the rain forest. Instead of thinking “that sentence looks off,” I knew those misplaced modifiers in the canopies should actually be growing in the understory.

My point here is that even when you know you can write, a good editor will catch errors you didn’t know existed. Some errors may seem unimportant, but your audience—readers, publishers, and agents—will notice them. Errors should not be distractions from your story or main point.

So, instead of trying to decipher what exactly The Chicago Manual of Style says about nonrestrictive phrases, let editors do the work for you.

2. Editors Provide Honest Feedback

Editors treat their jobs very seriously. When we read through a piece of writing, we provide both objective and subjective feedback and know exactly what loose ends to look for. We aren’t going to hurt your feelings with our feedback, but we also aren’t going to sugarcoat it.

Like most writers, I bet you have at least one friend or family member who is very excited to read and critique your writing. Letting them read your work might also be just as exciting for you, but will you be able to trust their feedback? If they hand it back and say, “it was fantastic!” you might feel let down because you wanted something a bit more substantial.

Editors will provide the best honest and constructive feedback through their comments, redline edits, and transmittal letter. Most will also spend time going over their edits either in-person or through a phone call.

3. Editors Are Supporters

As I’ve said before, editors love the creative process. Good editors will be able to envision your goal through your eyes. If they can’t, that doesn’t mean that either the writer or editor is bad; sometimes it’s just not a good fit.

Finding the right editor is like finding a champion for your writing. One of the reasons I love being an academic editor for Scribbr is that I get to help students feel more confident about their writing. Instead of rewriting the papers for them, we provide feedback and suggestions on how to write their ideas clearly and cohesively.

Digging into someone’s novel manuscript is an equally a rewarding journey. Writers are so creative and passionate about their stories, and good editors realize this. We want to see you succeed, and we can help you get there.

4. Editors Offer an Indispensable Skill

Many times writers want to edit their own writing, or hand it off to their best friend or colleague who has an English degree. These practices are fine, especially for first or second drafts. You can learn a lot from self-editing books, and your critique partners can offer valuable feedback.

But, if you are serious about having a clean, polished document, a professional editor is key. If you’ve ever read the acknowledgments at the end of a book (and, yes, I love doing this), you will know that even the best writers have editors.

Editing is a profession, and no one will catch all the details like an editor does. Would you let your neighbor redo your bathroom because she’s had some practice with a drill? Probably not. Many editors, like myself, have been trained to do what we do. We read up on current trends, we talk to each other about editing, and we strive to provide the best service we can for you, our clients!

Are you ready to hire a professional editor? Let’s get started!

Published by Leah Boyer

I'm a professionally trained copy and line editor. I do both fiction (mostly speculative, fantasy, and historical) and nonfiction (academic) editing. When I'm not editing or writing, I am caring for my two youngsters, getting lost in a story, tending to my native plant garden, or enjoying the charms of San Diego with friends and family.

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