Writer Wednesday Welcomes Brenda Coxe!!!

Today Writer Wednesday welcomes fellow writer/freelancer and aspiring author, Brenda Coxe! Brenda is a lovely friend I had the pleasure of meeting on FaceBook in a group called Thursdays Novelists. If you haven’t been, you should stop by. Brenda has graciously offered to take the reigns today and guest blog on a topic that’s pretty hot in the industry.

Should a Writer Pay an Editor?

by: Brenda Coxe

I recently became involved in a discussion on the topic of paying an editor to review writing prior to publication. It surprised me to read the remarks from one of the posters who was dead set against the idea of writers enlisting the services of a professional editor. This person had the idea that anyone who charges to editor a manuscript is exploiting writers. This line of thinking actually shocked me. What was even more shocking was when this poster indicated that any writer who is not good enough to be published without the benefit of a professional editor is not good enough to be published in the first place.

The question now is this: are professional editors taking advantage of authors when they charge them to edit manuscripts before they go to publication? Is it only authors who are contemplating self-publishing who should go to the expense of hiring a professional editor? In the mind of the poster I mentioned, this is indeed the case: only authors contemplating self-publishing need to bother with a professional editor.

Where is the mindset of the aforementioned poster? The biggest problem appears to be he/she feels that when you have a piece edited by a professional that person will take away from the voice and style of the original author. While this could certainly happen, the job of an editor is to help an author turn a manuscript that may not be salable into something that will make money for the author, publisher and agent. This need not involve changing the voice of the original author nor should it do so.

First time authors should certainly take the time to hire a professional editor if only to make sure their manuscript is as perfect as it can be before they send it to an agent or publisher. There is nothing worse than sending a manuscript full of errors to an agent or publisher; it is also the easiest way to find your hard work in the slush pile without a second glance. That doesn’t mean once you are published you can depend on your own self-editing skills. Remember, you are close to the writing, and you are likely to miss things. As writers, we tend to read what we intended to type rather than what we actually typed thus missing some errors.

The final answer to the question whether a writer should pay an editor depends on whether you are a hobby writer or a serious author looking for publication in the traditional market. Even if you aren’t looking for traditional publication now because you are writing something in the niche market that will not appeal to the average publisher, you want to make sure you don’t submit anything that is less than perfect because publishers communicate with each other. If you submit something that is full of errors you will not be well-received in the publishing industry the next time you are ready for publication.

About Brenda:

“I have been a full-time freelance writer since November 2005 but have been writing since I was a teenager. I have ghost written 3 e- books and published a number of articles online. I am also working on 2 novels and several short stories with one hopefully ready for submission after the current edit.”

You can read more from Brenda on writing at her website aptly entitled The Joy of Writing

Leave a comment. Say Hi. Let us know what you think?

3 comments to Writer Wednesday Welcomes Brenda Coxe!!!

  • This is timely for me. I just received notice that the editor I hired to perform a developmental edit on my manuscript has completed her work. We’re meeting Friday to go over her results. So, why did I hire her? Exactly what you said: I want to submit, and before I do that, I want my novel to be the best it can be. I wanted to make sure, as much as possible, that the story flows well, that I don’t have gaping plot holes, and that I didn’t make any amateurish mistakes. I think writers serious about writing know their own limits, and are always looking to improve. One of the ways I’m hoping to improve is by getting an experienced editor to show me the weak points in my manuscript. I will help not only this current manuscript, but all future ones will be improved by what I’ll learn.

  • Valerie Haight

    Hi Brenda! Great post!
    I’ve always wondered if the benefits of a polished MS would outweigh the cost of the editor. As a working mother, I have reservations about putting forth too much $, especially since I spend SOOO much time away from my family already for something so “trivial” as my passion. But you’ve touched on some important notes here. Might be something to think about!

  • Brenda: You make some excellent points. Any writer who insists on being a Lone Ranger throughout their writing-to-publishing journey does not understand the process well enough to see their goals reach fruition. A manuscript passes through many hands and sees many changes before the process is complete and a physical book sits on that coveted bookstore shelf.

    There is no reason an author’s voice has to be compromised along the way. An editor is there not to tell the author how to write; he/she is there to assure grammatical correctness, proper word usage and sentence structure, fluency, etc. She will catch things the author has missed that will likely improve the general flow of the story. In the end, the author still has the option of accepting or rejecting their editor’s suggestions.

    I haven’t sought out the services of an editor as yet, but I did pay a mentor to look over a portion of my manuscript and her suggestions and observations were invaluable to me. Like you said, in the reading and rereading of our work, we, as authors, tend to miss things. Our minds and eyes have, in essence, lost their effectiveness and we fail to see things that are easily picked up by fresher eyes. Over-confidence and ego should be checked at the door before we attempt to enter the tightly locked door that is the world of publishing in this 21st century.


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