Professional writers use professional editors

There is an old saying of indefinite origin which goes something like this: “An attorney who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.”

In other words, in matters which you find yourself too closely involved, hire someone who will be objective.

This same concept applies to hiring an experience copy editor or content editor for your writing.

Good intentions are good but professional intentions are better.

About a year ago, I purchased a copy of a book that a friend of mine had written and self-published. As I turned the first few pages, I found myself in a state of disbelief at the number of grammar and punctuation errors left in the text. I read a bit further on and encountered choppy transitions and instances where the story jammed up when it should have flowed.

In short, it was evident that no editor had been anywhere near the manuscript. So, despite the fact that this writer had filled his book with bracing and entertaining stories, the overall effect was, to my eyes, careless and amateurish.

That author has a lot of talent and had good intentions with and for his book. However, a good, professional editor would have been objective about the text and would have perfected the author’s work and made it readable by a larger audience (and perhaps would even have made it more attractive to a reputable publisher).

So, what am I saying here?typewriter-blue-dark.jpg

Good intentions are good but professional intentions are better.

Professional writers use professional editors.

When results really matter (as they do when you are publishing something), good intentions in the absence of actual know-how won’t get you very far.  Editors exist because most writers write. They don’t edit.

A professional editor is a fresh pair of eyes. He/she will easily find and effectively correct not only the basics of spelling, grammar and punctuation but will note and correct, among other things, verb tense and subject-verb agreement, person, use of incorrect words, redundancies and sequencing errors that interrupt the flow and transitions in your material. A good editor will amplify and enhance what is good about your work without imposing his/her own personality.

A professional editor is a necessary link in the chain that begins with the inception of your idea (your story, your poems, your business proposal, etc.) and ends with the creation of a positive impression on your readership or customers.

A professional editor is both a business expense and a good investment.

The big boys–newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, court reporting firms and others–all employ professional editors.

So, when it comes to your writing, don’t be like that attorney representing himself in court. If you’re serious about your work, hire a professional editor.

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Steve Wagner is a Los Angeles-based freelance copywriter and editor whose clients include American Songwriter magazine, The Hard Truth magazine, the public relations firm MWPR, in Burbank, CA and the diversity consulting organization Global Collaborations, Inc., in Houston, TX. If you are seeking a professional editor, contact him at swagner (at) writer-editor-etc (dot) com and he will be happy to talk with you about your project.