In another life, I was a professional journalist.
Steve Berlin, my copy editor, tore my first article to shreds and made me redo it. If I told you what I imagined doing to him, you’d think I wrote scripts for the Saw franchise.
Prior to Steve, no one had really bloodbathed my journalistic writing before. In my eyes, that article needed, no, deserved 20″ of editorial copy. Push that quarter-page ad to the back — I don’t care.
He won that round, and the next ten or so before I stopped being stubborn and learned from my mistakes.
I remember R&B singer Erykah Badu once telling her audience that she’s an artist who’s sensitive about her craft. Aren’t we all? Prior to the birth of my daughter, and my career in teaching, my creations were my babies. Nobody wants to be told their baby has crooked feet – something correctable, but maybe painful, time-consuming, and possibly, a little embarrassing to admit to other people.
This might be the reason why some self-published authors skip the professional editing process. They don’t want to be told their manuscript doesn’t walk as well as it should, or worse, they claim they can’t afford to fix it.
Honestly, editing is nothing personal. I’ve edited a few manuscripts in my day, and I don’t cackle in an evil voice, “Haha, a comma splice error!” It’s an editor’s job to preserve the author’s voice, as much as he can, while providing the author constructive ways to fix their stories and grow in the process. In other words, you’re paying them to be Steve Berlin – a nice guy who just wants you to get the job done.
FYI: For those of you who can’t afford editing (it goes between .012 cents per word to .045 cents), e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try the freelance route at Elance.com.
Hope this helps!