How Important Is Editing To You?



I love to read, but when I begin a new book, the last thing I want is to be jerked out of the story by continuous grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes. It’s the first sign that perhaps the book may suffer from other issues, like weak plot or character development.

In the past few years, the need for writers to edit our own work has become more crucial than ever before. Online review sites are taking off, and readers love to share what they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy. Many reviews I’ve read get down to the tiniest detail, and if there’s poor editing, then  that becomes a major turnoff. We can certainly edit ourselves until we believe we’ve nailed our book, but there’s nothing quite like a second set of eyes.

Many writers join writers’ groups, have critique partners or request a beta reader to give them solid feedback. There’re also some wonderful freelance editors available. Proofreaders and line editors are another great option.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. Last week, a writer friend said to me she’d like to self-publish her first book. She’s tried getting an agent, but rejection letter after rejection letter keeps coming in. She’s in a writers’ group, but they’re all unpublished authors learning and growing together. She asked me what I thought she should do? Wow, as writers, our journey to publication can be quite different. Self-publishing might be the road she takes, although one thing remains the same for all of us. Our books should be soundly edited before publication, no matter which avenue we choose to take. Her future reputation as a writer is at stake if she doesn’t put her very best forward. I certainly understand her frustration of trying to get that first “yes.” It certainly feels like we’re climbing a mountain, dragging our way uphill, and through hail and snow to get there. But it’s so important not to forget that every published author out there, was unpublished at some point. That makes it feel real. Anything is possible.

So, how important is editing to you? Do you have a critique partner, beta readers or someone else? Who helps you ready your manuscript for submission or publication? For me, my second set of eyes before submission is my sister. She isn’t a writer, but an avid reader. She’s great at providing feedback, although if not for her, I’d certainly team up with a CP. Drop me a comment and let me know what works for you.

Lastly, yay, I finally wrapped up book three in my YA fantasy series and began the submission process on it. Now, I’m crossing my fingers and toes and hoping I did everything I could to make it a fabulous read. I can certainly say it’s well-edited. 🙂

Take care, and I’ll catch ya next week.


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18 thoughts on “How Important Is Editing To You?

  1. I worked with a critique partner for 12 years, and then, sadly, she passed away. I was lost without her and went a few years solo. Recently, I hooked up with a new critique partner and it’s wonderful to have that foundation again. You definitely need a second set of eyes, BEFORE submission, to have your manuscript as polished as possible. My editor with Lyrical is awesome. If I were ever to go the indie pub route, I would definitely pay for a professional editor. It’s too important not to!

    Congrats on finishing the last of your YA books, Joanne!

    1. Ditto what Mae said — having one critique partner who understands what I’m going for and is feisty enough to prod me when I’m not getting it across is the best sort of foundation, and having a fabulous editor at Lyrical push me that last mile is what gets me across the finish line with a book I can take pride in.

  2. Editing is crucial! Editing is my profession, and I take such care to do it well. So many books aren’t edited well, or are only edited by the author, which I think doesn’t count. I adore editing, and it doesn’t feel like work to me because I enjoy it so. The part I enjoy most is making an author look good!

  3. Hear hear. I just recently self-published my first Y.A. novel, and STILL fear that it has a typo here or there, even though it’s been edited to death! Guess I’ll find out if all of a sudden a lot of people mention grammar issues, but my first review was a glowing one, so whew! My favorite quote, “Writers are never done, they just get bored and move onto the next project.” Lol 😉

  4. Hey Joanne – A well-edited manuscript is a must. My husband has turned out to be an awesome critic and editor, so he gets first crack at my manuscripts. When I’m ready after the first draft and round of revisions, I send it out to a couple of trusted beta readers. After those edits, I send it to my editor, who goes through it with a fine-toothed comb doing both a content and grammatic edit. After that round of revisions, I send it to her for a final read-through, have my husband do a final read-through and do one myself. I believe everyone choosing to self-publish a book should hire a professional editor – there is lots of talent out there.


    1. Hey, Lilith. It’s great to hear from a self-published author. I’m so glad you’ve detailed your editing process. I love it. All those cycles of edits and final read-throughs. Perfect.

      If you’re interested, during the editing cycle for me, my content editor and I do 2-3 rounds each, then it’s off to a separate line editor. She reads my manuscript through, then it comes back to me to make any final changes. After that, it’s off to galley edits, at which point I get one further read-through before the final file comes back to me from my publisher.

      Editing is an intense process, and I applaud you for your dedication in getting your manuscripts shined to perfection. Say hi to your husband for me. He sounds amazing.

  5. Hey Joanne – thanks for sharing that process. I’m writing a book for submission to a publisher, so keep your fingers crossed that it’s accepted so I can learn even more about the editing process.

    Happy writing!

  6. I tried to edit myself and I laugh at how arrogant that idea sounds now. Even positive reviews said the book needed editing so now I pay for it.

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