Do I Need An Editor? Perhaps You Might Consider Using One

do i need an editor

You are self-publishing, so why do you need an editor?

You know your book better than anyone else, right?

An editor will just twist it into something different, something wrong, and they won’t understand it.

But that is not true at all. An editor can see things you can’t.

What an editor does

An editor wants to help you make your book into what you envision.

The type of editor to help you do that is a developmental editor. Yes, I know, there are so many different types of editors, such as copy editors and proofreaders.

When you have finished your manuscript, when you believe you have written all you can write, that is when you seek out a good developmental editor.

When you go the traditional publishing route, your main editor is essentially in charge of developmental editing.

They are book editors that get to know your book as if they had written it.

A developmental editor is looking for larger issues, not whether you used the correct “you’re” or “your.”

In the editing process, they keep an eye out for plot holes, inconsistencies, flow, character development, plot development, hooks, pacing, structure, voice, dialogue, and the list goes on.


Is your dialogue is stilted?

A developmental editor will help you find ways to smooth out the speech patterns and give each character their own voice.

Worried that your plot twist is predictable?

They will help you hint at it without giving away the whole kit and caboodle.

They make sure that the reader roots for the character you want them to (instead of your least favorite character) and ensure that your characters grow and develop throughout the story.

Most people will look past typos (although, believe me, they are distracting), but they won’t look past a bad storyline.

If the ending is unsatisfactory or abrupt, the reader will remember the book unfavorably and will probably give it a bad review.


Your writing coach

An editor knows how the reader is going to feel because they are essentially your reader.

The main difference between an editor and a reader is that an editor will know how to fix it and how to help you.

When you hire someone, it is basically like hiring the most informed, helpful, and knowledgeable reader that wants your book to succeed.

Nowadays, writing a book and self-publishing is a great option for authors.

But the publishing industry is flooded with terrible writing and terrible books.

People think that they can write anything, as long as it is finished, and become a bestselling self-published author.

There is so much more than just “writing” that goes into a good book.

It needs editing, revisions, and contemplative thought.


Find the right one

No matter how good a writer you are, you can’t catch everything, and you can’t be objective; you need someone to work with you.

Writing is a very personal act, and authors can view their books as extensions of themselves.

When your novel or work is that intimate, it can be hard to be objective.

That is where a developmental editor comes in.

Book editing can help an Indie author polish their piece and turn it into the best possible version. Readers can then better connect and access the work.

It can be scary to submit your novel to the world; an editor can help ease some of those worries.


Carly Bornsteincarly is a freelance editor specializing in developmental and line editing. She’s a lover of all fiction and is a book’s best friend (or vice versa). Follow Carly on Twitter @fromcarly

19 thoughts on “Do I Need An Editor? Perhaps You Might Consider Using One

  • Avatar for MD Neu
    April 21, 2017 at 4:14 am

    Anytime you can get eyes on your work is great and I think a good editor is worth their weight in gold. However, coming up with the funds to pay for said editor is key especially for the Self-Publishing author.

    This is a great article and the comments have been helpful as well. A lot to think about.

  • Avatar for Carol
    January 19, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Great article, I would advise anyone who has written a book to have a heavy line edit done at a bare minimum. I understand a lot of people are short of money, but at least a good line edit can fix a plethora of problems if you’re prepared to put in the work.

  • Avatar for RC Marantis
    May 16, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve learned something from both the article and the comments, thanks! Now to find that ever elusive, reasonably priced editor who provides just the right touch. And do all this without having to filter through 5 different editors for our first novel. :-)

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      May 16, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Good luck with your editor hunt! I’m sure you’ll find the right one.

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