Why it pays to use a copy editor

The great debate amongst writers. “When is my work ready?”

A tough question for those of us who haven’t got a publisher or have any history of published written work (other than FB and blogs).

It’s an old question. The answer is also as old.

Writers write because they have to write, there is little choice. It’s a driven thing. Some writers enjoy editing and proof reading. Me? I think it sucks, but I am enough of a realist to know that it needs to be done. I have a beta reader and after many iterations I “think” it is ready. But it isn’t. It needs someone else, someone who will find all of those flaws that you can’t. This is when you need a professional copy editor.

A copy editor isn’t really interested in the story, not in the same way as you, the writer is. A copy editor will do what you ask of them and in my writing I am happy that I have story line, plot and so on sorted. I need a grammar/English/pros Nazi to go through and rip all the bad stuff, show me where it is wrong and correct it.

I have just been though a long period of making the changes indicated by my copy editor, one whom I am paying. It took me 40.5 hours, I know because I kept a spread sheet. In doing these comments and corrections my book went down from 140,000 to 128,000 words.

That is a lot of words.

It was needed and has taught me that something like 80% of my “errors” fall into about 5 or 6 recurring mistakes. This is huge for me. It means I am now able to go through all of my other work and “copy edit” them using what I have learnt. It will take some time. I have 6 other books on the go at the moment, all past first draft. Some much further advanced than that. Now I know that they are not ready.

They will be in the new year, I have work to do.


About purpleandrew

Andrew, recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome is a 54 year old former geologist always had short hair, suited & booted for work. That all changed when the credit crunch hit. Now a complimentary therapist, hospital radio presenter, and writer. Andrew writes crime thrillers, Young Adult, and fantasy books as well as blogging about writing and other stuff that he feels strongly about.
This entry was posted in fantasy faery story, Fendrels' Tale, managing your writing, The Handbook of TOP TIPS To Manage Your Writing, writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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