Lesson 7

Get a Professional Editor

how to self-publish a book a seasoned professional

If you’re serious about getting published, it’s a good idea to work with someone who knows exactly what it takes. Whether you’re looking for help with the shape and focus of your story or you’re looking to smooth out the language, hiring an editor is one of the best decisions you can make.

What Are the Real Benefits of an Editor?

Another way to think of this step is that it’s essentially a one-on-one writing workshop. But instead of wasting 80% of your time talking about other people’s writing, you’re spending 100% of your time learning how to become a stronger writer — through your own writing.

And if you’re looking to have your story published in a literary magazine, hiring a fiction editor prior to submitting greatly increases the chances that your story is selected. This is because an editor at a literary magazine has a different role than an independent editor. While editors at literary magazines do light editing — showing you where and how to increase tension, what parts of your story can be cut, and polishing the language—they make only minor changes.

Literary magazine editors may see the potential in your writing, but they won’t take on a story that is loose or sloppy because they simply don’t have the time. So you really want to work with a professional editor to smooth out all the kinks in your structure and narrative tone before sending it off.

But What Does It Cost?

This ranges. What I can tell you is that working with a professional short story editor costs about 90% less than the cost of editing an entire novel or signing up for a writing workshop.

Guidance is a crucial step in a successful writing career. And a good editor will teach you much more than how to construct a good story. A good editor will comb through your story to find weak writing patterns and show you how to work around your own traps and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. A good editor will also highlight your strengths so that you can repeat that formula again and again.

How Does It Work?

There are two options:

  • A developmental edit will evaluate your storyline, focus, narrative tone, tension, pacing, and character development.
  • A line edit (sometimes called a copy edit) will mark every word, phrase, detail, and character attribute where your writing gets loose or veers off the road.

While a developmental edit will also likely touch on your language, grammar, and spelling, you will likely rewrite parts of your story before it’s ‘finished’ so you may wish to get a line edit at a later date.

Example after example of your writing habits and in-depth feedback will absolutely, no doubt about it, make all the difference in developing you into a much stronger writer.

So what now? In the next lesson, I’ll show you what it takes to get your amazing short story published in a literary magazine. Pretty exciting, right?


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