Why do writers need editors?

let's eat grandmaAn editor is a person who saves lives! For proof, consider these two short sentences:
– Let’s eat, grandma.
– Let’s eat grandma.

As a writer, you should always do your very best work — but even then you still need to submit it to an editor. No matter how well you write, there are bound to be at least a few slip-ups. You know what you are planning to write, and when you look at your finished piece, you tend to see what you expect to see. It is so easy to miss a comma, or leave an “s” off a plural, or write a sentence in a way that makes total sense to you, but won’t make sense to your reader. Writers need editors. Even editors need editors.

When you submit your work to a publishing company, if you don’t follow their guidelines, they will likely not consider your work at all. Even if your work is accepted for consideration, the publishing company’s editor will recommend improvements, and you will generally need to incorporate the editor’s advice and changes.

So before you submit your work to a publishing company, or to a magazine or blog or newspaper or other publishing format, study examples of work already published there. Check their requirements, which are usually available at their website, and often are also included inside copies of their magazines and newspapers. For book publishing companies, check current copies of Writers Market digests.  This way you are more likely to find a publisher that is looking for the type of writing you do, and your work is more likely to be considered rather than just tossed on the slush pile.  Even when you have followed the guidelines, it is very wise to find an editor familiar with the company’s requirements, and have your piece pre-edited before you submit it.

On the other hand, if you are self-publishing, the readers you hope will purchase your work are your instant judges.  They will skim it, then quickly return it to the shelf if it has not been well edited.  And even if they purchase and enjoy your story or article, if it contained distracting errors, they will almost certainly be much less likely to purchase your other works in future.

Even a professional, experienced writer will have their work edited, and then do re-writes, four to five times before publishing. So new writers should expect to go through at least the same amount of editing, if not more.

If you are looking for an editor, check out Pen and Paper Mama’s editing services.

For more information about editing, refer to the listing of editing articles which are being posted on this site.  If your particular editing needs cannot be met by Pen and Paper Mama’s services, I belong to a professional editors’ group, and will be happy to refer you to experienced editors who can provide the editing services you need.

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