WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
If you are an experienced author, you already know the value of getting your book edited. If this is your first book, you may be thinking, ‘I know the subject, I have read it through several times and I cannot find any errors, so why does it need to be edited.’ However, it is a known fact that when you read text that you have written yourself, what you actually ‘see’ is what is in your mind and not what is on the paper. The copy-editor or proofreader reads your text, not from the author’s viewpoint, but from the reader’s viewpoint. Experience has shown that editors pick up errors that authors miss.
Another reason for getting your book edited is that it is always useful to obtain a second opinion. You know the saying ‘two heads are better than one.’ An editor, who will see what impact the book has on the reader is able to help the author to get the message across in a better way. Nevertheless, one matter is paramount, a good editor will never change the author’s style, particularly in a novel. For example, if the author’s style is informal and/or conversational, the editor will not attempt to formalise it, and vice-versa.
So what does an editor look for? Obviously, editors will correct grammar and spelling errors, but other errors are less obvious; for example, in a novel, there is a description of a room; in Chapter 1 the carpet is red and the curtains are green but in Chapter 2 (describing the same room) the carpet is green and the curtains are red. Such things do happen.
Consistency is necessary in any book; so British or American spelling, figures or words for numerals and alternative spellings will be checked by the editor. Most publishers will give authors a ‘style sheet’ which clarifies these matters.
Therefore, if your book is long or short, fiction or non-fiction, formal or informal, it is always important to get it edited by a professional editor or an editing and proofreading services provider.