Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Work Around Yourself

Nothing new here, just another positive affirmation from author Stefan Vucak over at Authors Helping Authors today in a post titled "You Always Need an Editor." He's reminding writers that "your mind is automatically correcting things you read" and "[t]hese days, submissions must be perfect," so "have that manuscript edited before publishing it!"

He's right, of course, when he explains that the more time one spends with a piece of writing, the more the brain recognizes the subtext and does its own work reading between the lines, like the way you can wake up in the middle of the night and walk to the kitchen for a glass of water in the complete darkness—your brain is so familiar with its surroundings that it recognizes where the door, its handle, the stairs, the cabinet, the kitchen table all are, without any input form the eyes.

Like Vucak, the first time you re-read your manuscript, you'll catch lots of mistakes—typos, missing words, etc.—but every time you read it you'll not only find more, you'll also be training your brain to ignore the mistakes you're not fixing. Before you publish your book, you'll have to get it edited by someone unfamiliar with it if you want to get those mistakes out of the way. Save yourself the time and get it edited early on instead of wasting all your effort getting frustrated.

Remember, editing is a profession, and editors are professionals. Yes, there are plenty of people out there who are ready and willing to take your money to return an inferior product anticipating that you won't catch them before they get your money. But for every scammer out there are ten editors who want you to be a successful author. Use a surefire vetting method: talk to authors. Ask them who's edited their books and whether they'd recommend using that editor. Interview your editor extensively before you hire them. Make sure you have a detailed contract that spells out the job to be performed. Hire an editor not because you feel obligated to, but because you want to produce a better text.

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