Who Needs a Book Editor?
The short answer is nearly every writer needs an editor. There are different types of edits, and each writer may need something a little different, depending on skills, experience, and goals.
You may be seeking a literary agent to represent you or submitting your manuscript directly to small-press publishing companies. If so, you want your manuscript and query letter to stand out among the thousands of submissions agents and acquiring editors receive each year.
Maybe you’ve decided to skip the gatekeepers and self-publish your book. In that case, you’re in competition with the tens of thousands of choices readers have. No amount of self-promotion will overcome the bad word-of-mouth (and word-of-Internet) a book will receive if it has glaring errors, typos, common writing problems, or consistency, credibility or continuity issues. You work hard to write and promote your self-published book – you want your final product as professional, polished and compelling as you can make it.
An experienced, professional writer may need a second set of eyes to look over a manuscript to ensure it’s error-free and to make sure there are no major holes in the story that the writer has been too close to see.
Others need a thorough line-by-line copy edit to polish their work, improve their writing techniques, review and analyze character development/arc, or recommend improvements in the story’s structure and organization.
Some writers may want a mentor or helping hand earlier in the process, such as after the first draft is completed or even during the initial phases of writing.
In all of these cases, the goal is the same: to improve the quality of your manuscript – story and writing – to the high standards required for submission and to give yourself the best advantage possible in a very tough and crowded market for publication.