Grammar Grouch Talks Editing
To those who know me, it’s no secret that grammar and punctuation mistakes in published works make my eye twitch. I’ve been known to knock my star rating down a peg in a reviews when the mistakes are too numerous. This is an issue I’ve been mulling over for a while now, and a recent article on Self Publishing Daily moved me to discuss it.
The article, *Three Truths on Editing, brings up some excellent points. To paraphrase:
- Do it right: get your manuscript professionally edited if you’re self-publishing.
- Edit before handing it over to a professional: Polish and edit your work so it’s the best it can be before handing it over to an editor.
- Do pay attention to the small stuff: Obviously, the most important concern is an engaging story that keeps readers turning the pages, but even small errors can add up and pull a reader out of the moment.
I’d like to take this a bit further. It’s my belief that all authors need to be capable of semi-professional editing. Does that mean we want a career in editing? Of course not, but there are far-reaching benefits that shouldn’t be ignored.
- Be assured your book is well edited: If you don’t know a comma from a cheese curl, how do you know if the editor you’ve hired (or the editor from the small publisher you’ve signed with) is doing a good job? I speak from experience when I say that not everyone who claims to have editing experience is qualified to edit a manuscript for publishing.
- Save time and money: If you polish and edit before handing it over to the editor you’ve hired, there will be less work to do when you get your manuscript back.
- Look more professional: If you choose to submit your manuscript to an agent or small press for consideration, they’ll be more impressed if you have a great story and it’s already well edited.
- Help fellow authors: You might be rolling your eyes and thinking, “Why should I help someone else for free?” For one, it’s nice to pay it forward and help others traveling the same road, and two, the more you hone your skills, the easier your self-editing skills will flow. I can attest that it’s worth more than gold to find someone with strong editing skills who’s willing to put the hours in to help.
So do yourself a favor, and don’t skimp on editing. You’ll pat yourself on the back later and help some other authors out along the way. Everybody wins—especially your adoring readers!
As a public service in my endeavor to spread literacy around, I answer grammar and punctuation-related questions through a form here on the blog, or you can follow my grammar account on Twitter @MsGrammarGrouch.
Feel free to share your own editing tips and pet peeves.
*You can read the entire article referenced at Self Publishing Daily.