How a Book Editor Can Help You Improve Your Writing Skills

How a Book Editor Can Help You Improve Your Writing Skills

How a Book Editor Can Help You Improve Your Writing Skills
Photo by Steve Greer

How a Book Editor Can Help You Improve Your Writing Skills

A copy edit and manuscript critique are an important part of self-publishing a novel. Not only can a professional independent book editor help improve your manuscript, but she can also help you improve your writing skills.

Every time a writer has a manuscript edited, she gains feedback on her strengths and weaknesses. She has a chance to learn from the process each time. That's one of the main points of hiring a book editor for copy editing services.

But just because you hire an editor for your novel doesn't mean your book will be flawless. The editor should provide you with suggestions on how to improve your book manuscript, but it will be up to you to take those suggestions into consideration and make the necessary changes. If an editor were to provide a full edit or rewrite of a writer's work, the editor would be taking the work away from the writer, and that would do a disservice to the writer because he wouldn't learn from the process.

The price of in-depth line editing and an editorial critique also includes the price of education because when you work through your manuscript and address each of the editor's suggestions throughout your story, you're doing the work and learning as you go. Writing skills grow over time, so as you write more and more, you have the chance to improve your storytelling skills on a gradual basis.

Writing a novel isn't just a one-time deal – you don't just write the first draft and hand it off to an editor to perfect. That's not how you learn and that's not how your writing skills improve. Whoever told you writing was easy lied to you. Sure, writing can be easy at times, but it takes a lot of hard work to learn the craft and write well. It takes hard work to weave a tale into something that is engaging or intriguing to other people.

So, when it comes to the finished product, the final version of your book manuscript, the quality depends on you. A copy edit and critique will only take you as far as you're willing and able to go.

One of the things we need to accept as beginning writers is that our writing skills will improve with each new book we write – but only also if we're taking time to learn. Our first few books won't be perfect–even our twentieth book will still need more work–but we improve over time. It's ok to learn as you go and improve as you publish because everyone else does it that way, too. You don't have to be an expert; you just need to keep getting your stories written, polished, and sent out to the world.

Jody Calkins
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