5 Myths About Book Editing

There are many myths and misinformation about the art of editing. As a result, editors tend to be misunderstood due to the negative aura of untruths around them. With these following 5 myths, I would like to clarify some things and clear up the misconceptions that arise when editors come to mind.

Myth #1: A good writer has no need for an editor.

This is a misguided notion. Even the best writers are in need of an editor. Why? An author loses themselves in their plot and writing, and their written words become such an integral part of themselves that it becomes nearly impossible to judge their own quality of work.

Take this to heart: If you want your book to stand out, be appealing, and affect your readers the way you envision them to be affected, then you will need to go down the professional editing route. You see your ideas clearly in mind – characters, impressions, arguments, scenes, plot – but you do not see the gaping holes in your plot or your style deviations. A professional editor will do that. It is what she has been meticulously trained to do.

Myth #2: Anyone can edit a book.

Your best friend, spouse or neighbor knows how to write, understands grammar and is an avid reader.  So why should you search for an editor to edit your book when they can do it for you? You might think that skillset qualifies them, but in reality, it does not. To delve deeper into the reasoning, let us consider a few things.

There is no doubt that the more eyes scan your book, the better. Your relatives and friends will give you encouragement and wonderful support, but ultimately, it is a disadvantage as well. A professional editor holds a special connection with written words. She will approach your manuscript with the skillset and attention for detail that only an editor can bring. Book editing is a skill developed and refined over time and through focused training. Not just anyone can ensure a manuscript is free from errors, point out areas of confusion, clarify content, fix repetition and tense usage, reorganize structure, focus on language, and provide you with overall suggestions to make your writing stand out.

Myth #3: All editors do the same type of work.

This is not true. As your book goes through the process of publishing, it requires a variety of different editing tasks. Each of these editing tasks requires a different set of skills. In addition, while one editor may provide all these services, she will not be doing them all at once. The following are the different types of editing:

Content editing:

You would be working with a professional editor right from the initial stages. The content editor or story editor would work closely in giving you feedback about the main content, the characters, and more so as to effectively improve your story.

Line editing:

As the name indicates, a line editor ensures that every sentence is crisp and clear. A line editor helps make every sentence in your story count and stringently monitors the language and tone of the sentences.

Copy editing:

This is a crucial stage because this is where the editor actually hunts for all types of major errors. The editor analyzes the whole manuscript to rule out any factual blunders, story line mismatch, character related errors, and any other error in the whole content. The grammatical strength of the manuscript is also corrected here.


A proofreader probes your manuscript as a final editing round to make sure nothing was missed out, more strictly for grammatical or typographical errors.

Myth #4: Any editor can help you with any type of book.

Editors tend to specialize. Yes, they may have the capability to edit in several genres, but for the most part, they specialize in particular genres. Some editors may not be capable of handling historical fiction and fact checking, others may not be proficient in editing poetry, and then there are those that shy away from mature and gory content. An honest editor will tell you right away if she is not the right person to help you with your book, and might be able to recommend another trusted editor.

Myth #5: A cheap editor can get the job done too.

Competition is everywhere, even in the editing field. As mentioned earlier, a manuscript undergoes different types of editing, and each type demands a certain commitment of time and focus. Pertaining to economic laws, in a saturated market, prices are lowered in order to compete within the market. Many editors today charge cheap in order to garner the attention of potential customers, a target scheme that does not necessarily mean a proficient editor in return. One must also keep in mind that quality can be compromised by price.

The most effective way to find the right editor for you is to take a look at their portfolio and let their reviews speak for themselves. Reach out to them, get a feel for their tone of writing, and make an informed decision. At the end of the day, it is your book and your money.  Make sure you conduct a thorough research before entrusting your book to an editor.

All in all, editors are crucial to ensuring your book is published with the impact you envision to instill in your readers. Editors may be misunderstood at times, but embrace the editing process and all it entails, and you’ll come to realize how helpful they can be. In general, their refinements may make the difference in making or breaking your work.

What are you waiting for? Take the initiative and begin your journey into the self-publishing world here!


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