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Want to ensure you make a fantastic living as a writer? Then do what the pros do and turn to editors. Why? Because crisp, clear writing creates a clean, smooth read your readers will love.

And what happens when someone loves your writing? 

They share it with others.

It might seem counterintuitive to devote time, energy, and, most importantly for some, available funds to pay for a professional editor. I mean, won’t a good run through Grammarly do?

No. In fact, I would argue the return on investment with editing is high—maybe many times higher.

Think of it this way: when was the last time you read a book, article, or blog post and it was abundantly clear the author didn’t even bother to run a simple spell check or relied on amateurs to do the heavy lifting? Did you keep reading it? No, probably not—and if you did, it was under duress, amirite?

What was the opportunity cost to the writer? I believe it is incalculable. A great editor, in the form of an actual person, is going to give your writing the boost it needs. And I’m not talking about your beta readers or your advanced reader team; they have their own important roles to play in the publishing process. 

When I read a book I end up loving, I (a) tell everyone, (b) buy copies to give as gifts, and (c) share it.  

I also become a superfan of the author, which means more money in their pocket over time. I listen to their podcast interviews, buy their books, and share their work with my center of influence. Rinse and repeat.

But if the writing is poor due to lack of editing, I move on. My TBR pile already goes to the moon and back at least three times.

I realize editing is possibly the largest investment you’ll make in your book, but it’s for good reason—the number one way a book is discovered is through personal recommendation. (It stands to reason the same is true for any writing, but I digress.) If your cash flow is limited or you’re tight on time, here are a couple of ways to get an editor’s polish on a budget:

  • Find an editor-in-training. There are lots of aspiring editors, and many of them sit at the feet of masters. They are learning from someone much more experienced, and your writing might even get a quick pass over their desk! You’ll pay less while enjoying the benefit of having human touch.
  • Regardless of the experience of your editor, if you use a software like Grammarly or ProWritingAid, let them know, as they might charge you less for cleaning up your writing ahead of time.
  • Many writers miss their deadlines, leaving their editor with an unexpected open space. Even the best and most experienced editors sometimes find themselves with unexpected availability, so put yourself on their waitlist, and you might be surprised how quickly they can get your manuscript finished.

Although using an editor is standard, there are still ways to maximize your investment in one. Allow me to share some extra tips that will help you magnify your investment, right back to your wallet:

  • Tip 1: Find your person. Hire the best you can afford, check references, and do your due diligence. A bad editor costs you time and money, the exact opposite of what you need. Get a recommendation for an editor, talk to a few of their clients, and have a chat so you can see if you “click.” Rapport with an editor is crucial to the process (see Tip 3).
  • Tip 2: Book ’em, Danno! Great editors book in advance. Once you have your production schedule written in ink, sign a contract, and pay your deposit. And use that deadline to keep your writing on track.
  • Tip 3: Get ready to see red (ink, that is). The right editor will preserve your voice—crucial to engaging those superfans—while making what may seem like millions of corrections to your writing. This is great! All of my manuscripts come back looking like a crime scene, but when the red is removed, I have a manuscript that is better for the effort. In other words, let your editor do their job, and don’t take it personally. 

I know the cost of an editor can feel prohibitive, but I hope you’ll look at it as an investment that will return to you many times over for a long time to come.

Cheers to a prosperous editorial collaboration!

Honoree Corder

Honoree Corder

Honorée Corder is the author of more than fifty books, an empire builder, and encourager of writers. When she’s not writing, she’s spoiling her dog and two cats, eating something fabulous her husband made on the grill, working out, or reading. She hopes this article made a positive impact on your life, and if it did, you’ll reach out to her via HonoreeCorder.com.

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