As a writer myself, I understand the feeling of wanting to protect your precious manuscript with sword and shield against anyone who might have any thought of making the slightest change to it. This can be even more so for indie authors looking to self-publish, as this route of publishing offers the greatest amount of control over what the final product turns out to be. Because of this, indie authors are the ones most in need of copyeditors.
But why would a writer willingly pay good money for someone to change what they’ve poured onto the page?
A couple years ago I was approached by an author who was desperate for help with his autobiography. He said he had had a number of other editors work on it, but they had done a poor job and he was frustrated. I took on the job and indeed it needed a lot of help. It wasn’t until the project was completed that I found out exactly why he had been so upset.
He had self-published his book on Amazon and received a negative review regarding the “uneducated” writing style. That review is permanent.
It’s unfortunate that in order to accept that his writing needed more help than what cheap editors on freelance bidding websites provided, he had to endure the embarrassment of having someone publicly shame his intelligence. No writer should have to experience that. But many readers expect perfection; they want the story to take them in and want to walk in the shoes of the characters without stumbling on problematic sentence structure or getting lost in a confusing plot. What makes perfect sense to us as authors may not make sense to a reader. And as any good editor will tell you, we are advocates for the reader.
Since he updated his publication with the newly edited version, his book has been quite successful, with many wonderful reviews focusing on the story and how powerful it was. So if you’re asking yourself whether you need a copyeditor, imagine what your review section on Amazon might look like. If you think it will be any less than five stars, get an editor. If you are certain people will love it as is and there is nothing wrong with it, definitely get an editor. Invest in your success. Your writing is worth it.