There are so many ways a good editor can add value to your writing or your company’s content: It’s more than just knowing when to put the punctuation inside or outside the quotation marks. We add clarity, slash wordiness and redundancy, replace jargon (unless it truly needs to be there) and sort out misuse. We check facts and other details that no grammar plugin will ever catch. (An editor would’ve prevented the following unfortunate occurrence in a fundraising letter: “The organization sued volunteers in order to accomplish many tasks.”) And we make your voice shine clearly. Here are 11 more reasons to hire an editor for your book or business:
1. You’re busy being brilliant at what you do.
You need to focus on building your company or teaching your students or inventing, creating, designing, discovering, building or writing amazing things. You don’t have to be an editor, too.
2. You know how important first impressions are.
That’s why you hired the best marketers you could find. But even the brightest marketing minds don’t usually look at the same things an editor looks at—it’s not what they’re trained to do.
3. You get a headache just hearing the terms “dangling modifier,” “pronoun-antecedent agreement” and “comma splice.”
I promise I won’t ever mention them when we work together. I don’t like them, either.
4. You’ve got so much new content that you don’t know how to manage it all.
An editor can help you ensure that each piece addresses the needs of your target audience, is consistent in voice and style and clearly shows your brand’s personality, polish and professionalism—and that everything works together to tell a cohesive story.
5. You’ve put your heart and soul into your manuscript (or website or email campaign)—and you’re too close to it to look at it objectively.
No matter what genre you’re writing in, an experienced professional editor can guide you on overall structure and flow, fix grammar and syntax problems, check for consistency (in tense, point of view, names and character details, etc.) and address any other issues that might keep your book (or website or email campaign) from being the best it can be.
6. You know your subject matter inside and out and can explain it to the last, tiny detail—but your readers may be coming from a completely different perspective or culture. Or they may not have your level of expertise.
A good editor is both your readers’ advocate and yours, and will help bridge any gaps between what you have to offer and what your readers need to know. It’s the editor’s job to elicit more detail, simplify complex explanations or take other steps to ensure that the depth and level of difficulty of the content match your audience’s expectations.
7. High school English wasn’t your favorite subject.
Odd though it sounds, high school English may not have been the best place to learn how to write well anyway. A lot of the “rules” we were taught aren’t actually rules at all (but don’t blame your teacher; she was probably taught that way, too). And as for the rest, the best editors understand when to use them—and when bending them is perfectly fine.
8. English isn’t your first language.
Even if you speak English fluently, it’s worth having a professional editor (who’s a native speaker) review your work. The English language has all kinds of nuances and subtleties (like homophones—words that sound the same but mean different things and may be spelled differently) that your spell-checker will never catch. A good editor will.
9. English is your first language, but it’s just not your thing.
Not everyone’s great with words. Maybe you’re gifted with paintbrushes or power tools or pacemakers. Do your thing. And hire an editor for the words.
10. You’re dealing with content that was originally written in another language and translated into English.
There are many potential challenges with translated content. Sometimes, for example, the translator doesn’t have all the context—so the translation doesn’t make sense. I’ve seen this a lot in website content, where the translator has tried to decipher user interface text strings without seeing the layout or corresponding visual elements. The results can range from amusing to unfortunate. A savvy editor will catch these types of things right away.
Also, because of the increased demand for English-language content for a global market, corporate material is often translated by employees who speak English—but are neither trained translators nor writers. It’s critical that your website, marketing copy, emails and sales collateral look and sound professional. Hire an experienced editor to ensure that the language is not only grammatically, but also idiomatically, correct—that it flows naturally.
11. Something huge happened and you need to update everything.
Maybe you acquired another company or rebranded or just got your series A funding. You don’t have to toss out all your content and start from scratch. An editor can go through your materials and make sure they all adhere to the new guidelines.
Have questions about working with an editor? Contact me! I look forward to learning about your project and exploring how I can help you.