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What Editing Can't Do
There are things even the best editors can’t do. When considering whether to hire an editor for your work, make sure you have realistic expectations.
Provide an instant fix
Well-qualified editors are experienced and trained. However, unlike proofreading, editing is subjective. There’s no formula for evocative characters, polished plots or even a correct prose style (beware of any editor who tells you there is). As a writer, you need to have a level of sophistication and knowledge about your work and yourself to know where your weaknesses are and how a professional might assist you. Some writers want to hire a professional editor out of some fear that their work isn’t good enough, and they think it can be “fixed.” There are many different types of editing. Know what they are and what kind you need. Then you’re ready for a professional editor.
Turn a good book into a bestseller
Even the best editor can’t turn a poor manuscript into a good one or a so-so manuscript into a commercial success. They can only work with what’s already there. There is no secret formula for writing a bestseller. They come in all types, and even publishers are often surprised whether a book becomes a bestseller or not. Only a dishonest editor will make a promise to turn your work into a bestseller.
Guarantee a contract with a publisher
Good editing may improve your manuscript, but getting an offer of publication depends on more than just the quality of your writing. An excellent, polished manuscript is essential, but it’s only one element among many. There are no guarantees. Effectively focusing your submissions, the publishing editor’s judgment of readers’ tastes, the perceived marketability of your book, what the publisher is already publishing, and what’s “hot” right now or oversaturating the market all are elements of what determines whether your work will be published.