For all the positives of self publishing, the one big negative is that there are many things writers end up needing to navigate on their own. Unfortunately, it seems there are too many writing publications out there more interested in producing articles about liberal SJW opinions as opposed to actual writing advice. At the Uprising Review, we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from writers because we’ve been focused on things writers actually care about—but I digress. One area we have found to be particularly challenging for new writers is the editing process. Even in traditional publishing, there seems to be this idea that an editor is supposed to correct your grammar, punctuation, do some minor word-smithing, and that’s about it. But the reality is, a good editor will be doing a great deal more. While it may be tempting to cut corners and save money by letting your cousin edit your first book, this is a huge mistake that will likely only hold you back.
A few weeks ago, Everitt had the great idea to have an editor come on the Uprising Review Podcast and he reached out to his friend Brett Stevens. While we’re always giving our opinions as writers, it was a great opportunity to get an editor’s perspective on writing and give our listeners a chance to hear what goes into the editing process. We asked Brett about his process as an editor and what he does to help writers improve their work.
The reality is that editing is about so much more than correcting minor errors. According to Brett, when an editor is doing his or her job right, they are really more of a co-writer than an editor. An editor should be giving you lots of notes on all sorts of things that will help you flesh out your work. As a writer, you are anything but objective. The fresh eyes of an editor should be identifying things that need to be cut out, concepts that don’t come across like they aught to, and overall simply helping you to build a stronger story. That’s what makes an editor so important and that is what you are paying for. If you’re not getting plenty of notes to help give you a new perspective on your work, then you aren’t getting what you paid for.
When you are looking for an editor, make sure you set the expectation that they will be helping you improve the concepts of the story and not just make minor cosmetic changes. It’s a good idea to take a look at their other work as well and find an editor that fits your genre. If an editor doesn’t seem willing to rip your work apart and tell you what doesn’t work, then they are not the editor for you. While it may be tempting to try to edit your book yourself or skimp on finding an actual editor, it may just be one of the biggest mistakes you can make with your writing.