Have you ever read a best seller that contained a typo or two? Of course you have. We all have. Usually, that’s the extent of it–a missing word, a missing punctuation mark, a misspelling. Something small here or there that doesn’t really interfere with your reading or enjoyment of the story, but something that reminds you that human beings (who are fallible) put that book together.

Traditionally published books that land on the best-seller list are usually under the imprint of one of the Big 5 publishers. Not always, but usually. Those organizations staff professional editors and proofreaders to ensure their books are clean and free of mistakes, and yet … as we just discussed, they often aren’t. Even after several rounds of editing and proofreading (and I do mean SEVERAL), they often aren’t perfect.

Now, I want you to think about all the time you’ve put into your book. I want you to think about how much of yourself you’ve put into your book. I want you to think about the hopes you have for your book–the number of people you hope to reach, the effects you hope your book will have on people. Think about everything you’ve already invested in this book.

Why on earth wouldn’t you invest in hiring a professional editor to polish it before you offer it to the world? Why wouldn’t you treat your book as well as a publishing company would? Trust me, they don’t care about your book as much as you do. But they do want to put the best product out they can, so they edit, and they edit again, and then they proofread. Why wouldn’t you do the same?

You would? You want to make the investment? Then please keep that word in mind … “investment.”

You are going to hire someone to make your book stronger, someone who specializes in narrative flow, in strengthening conflicts and character development, and in hearing an author’s voice and maintaining it, someone who knows their grammar backwards and forwards. You will be able to find hundreds of people who claim to be able to do that.

Verify that they can really do the work.

You are investing in your book, and you’re placing a ton of trust–and not a small amount of money–in the hands of a stranger when you first hire your editor. Find out what other work they’ve done. Does it mesh with yours? What do their clients have to say about them? Will they perform a sample edit for you? (Most of us will, but don’t be surprised if you’re asked to pay for our time to do it. Believe me, one hour’s fee is well worth discovering that editor you thought looked great isn’t a great fit, or vice versa–she’s everything you’d hoped she’d be.)

Publishing is a serious business. Why do you think it’s so hard to do it traditionally? Take it seriously. Treat your book with respect. Invest in an editor that will work with you to make that book shine.

Would you like to chat with me about editing your newest work? Email me at sharon@editorsharonhoneycutt.com.  I’d love to hear what you’re working on.