Whether fiction or non-fiction, reading is a preoccupation that requires a suspension of disbelief fostered inside trust. Those who hold books in their hands while curled up in the corner of the couch, studying intently at the library table, or hoping to be ignored on the subway during the evening commute expect excellence between the punctuation marks. They anticipate the reward of education or escapism after a long day’s slog through a frustrating encounter or an insufferable wait. Readers fall in love inside an author’s carefully crafted pages. They battle demons from the netherworld. They become more proficient at a skill, discover alien societies in distant galaxies, or seep into the comfort of places already understood and people already loved. It is our obligation to deliver on the promises of cover art and synopsis. It is a daunting task and a heavy responsibility. It is also a choice.
The act of writing, some profess, is a calling. It is a compelling conversation one has with Spirit requiring devoted attention of time, energy, sweat, blood, and tears. Many are driven to write because of an electric surge that prods at us. If we ignore it or somehow smother it, much like the consequence of refusing to inhale… we will die. Yet that is also a choice, albeit one too devastating to argue.
Because we decided to write, we must honor the process just as we honor good health. We must take in every piece of advice offered to nourish our craft. We must use every helpful tool we discover to polish our delivery. We need to learn all we can to protect our choice without regret – for ourselves or our readers.
It is a foregone conclusion that you will damage your relationship with your DNA by choosing to neglect your body’s essential requirements of life. So too, will you abuse your reputation with readers if you ignore their expectations of a solid story, engaging characters, and sentences that flow easily. Forcing readers to trip over grammar, spelling, continuity, and syntax mistakes may result in an agonizing punch to your writing career. Sadly, you may never recover.
Most authors can tell a fantastic story or impart tremendous wisdom while holding a reader’s attention for hours through a solitary, focused effort. Collaboration on the inside pages is not necessary for an author to enjoy success. However, suppose you violate a reader’s trust by allowing your ego to proclaim that your writing is above reproach. In that case, you are inviting a world of hurt that will cascade from one book to the next. Neglecting to connect with a professional editor simply because you ‘write well enough’ is unconscionable. Could you do it all on your own? Perhaps. Should you go it alone? Never. The skills, objectivity, and lack of emotional attachment a professional editor brings to your work are critical. We are far too close to our own stories to make the difficult decisions of which superlative passages to rephrase or which characters to help exit the story, stage left.
Only through the guidance of a professional editor can we avoid the plot holes, incongruencies of character, or misinterpreted messages that dissuade people from reading all the way to the back cover. Let alone lending or recommending our book to others. Even the best writers rely on editors. After all, they specialize in putting a sharper edge on the tension, deepening the authenticity of the emotion, and eradicating the oversights made in that fifteenth version we are sure is perfect.
Many Indie Authors edit themselves to control expenses and somehow balance the income against the art. It is a trick we play on ourselves to keep from falling headlong into a melting pint of ice cream and despair. It’s completely understandable. Retaining control of the budget validates all the long nights learning the multitude of steps involved in birthing your book on your own.
Find another area to skimp on as you develop your emotional and financial budget for your next writing project. Don’t snub the expertise of a reliable, knowledgeable editor just to save a few dollars. If you do, it will be at the peril of your book’s success and your writing career. Simply put, the fastest way to lose readers is to ignore or insult their intelligence by not hiring an editor. An editor may not make it perfect, but they will help you achieve excellence. That is what builds a dependable reputation of quality in your writing. With every stroke of the editor’s pen, you build trust with your reader. You will cultivate the strongest referral base for your future work out of that trust.
So, nourish your relationship with your readers. Deliver on promises and cultivate trust for accuracy and consistency within your work. You will be stronger in mind, body, and spirit because of it… and your career will reap the rewards. Do the right thing. Make the best choice. Always hire an editor before you publish.
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