You hear this advice all the time, but a lot of people seem to wonder why. And this is especially important for people who are self or indie publishing their work, where the press you’re working with may not have an in-house editor or copyeditor who looks at things before they go out the door.
But the fact of the matter is, especially when you’ve been working on something for a long time, that you start to miss things. You memorize bits of your story and don’t read it that closely when you go back through. And, no matter how we try, humans just simply aren’t perfect.
So a second set of eyes always help.
(I hear some of you guys out there saying, “Kit, you’re only posting this because you yourself are an editor.” While that is true, I always have my work edited by someone else before it goes out. My very first story, back in the day, I didn’t, and it showed.)
If you’re not as sure on structure, pacing, characterization–things of those ilk–it can help to hire an editor to make sure your story is meeting the conventions of your genre and good stories in general. Depending on who you have, your betas can do some of this for you, but this only works if your betas are fairly professional writers/editors in their own rights.
Luckily, in this day and age, it’s not that hard to update an ebook or print file if you’re the one controlling them, but it’s additional work after a story was, in theory, done, and your product may go offline for a time or you may find more fastidious readers leaving poor reviews because of the quality of your book. Voracious readers tend to be fairly attentive to grammatical errors, and errors can pull them out of the narrative.
And you never want your readers pulled out.
If you’re trying to go the tradition publishing route, hiring an editor for copyediting and proofreading is probably not necessary as the publishing house will provide those services for you.
On the nonfiction side, if you’re trying to present yourself as an expert, or trying to explain how your business is the best, errors are going to undermine your efforts.
So why not hire an editor? A good one will make your product/story/ad/paper better, and that’s always a good thing.
Do you use an editor, Squiders? Do you have one person you work with exclusively, or do you shop around each time you need one?