Here are some expectations that authors should have regarding editing.
- Do not expect someone else to do it for you. No matter how much money you pay or how good a publisher you get, you will still have to do the bulk of the dirty work to get your book into shape. If you don’t, you may never get a publisher in the first place. I had an editor that most of her author clients raved about. I didn’t do a good enough job going over my first book, thinking that I had written it four or five times already and edited possibly double that amount. That was a fatal error; the book came out with a number of noticeable mistakes in it that I’m still kicking myself for now. Do your job properly, authors.
- Do not expect it to be over swiftly. Good editing takes time. Take that time, as much as you need. End of story.
- Have a plan for your edits. Don’t just read your book and tweak randomly. Decide what needs the most work. Fix higher order concerns (like plot errors and character inconsistencies) first. Fix logical errors. Then begin editing for fluency and style. Know what you’re doing and be in control.
- Know when to stop. While I did say above that one should take all the time one needs to edit, you clearly don’t want to be editing the same book for the rest of your life. There will come a time when you need to give the book up, and that time is normally some sort of deadline. That was what happened with my first four books. Now they’re out in the wild and I have to face the knowledge that I did the best I could in the time I could. One day, your books will need to take on a life of their own and meet their audience. And you will have to release them.
Not enough information? Why not explore some other editing articles? I recently did a series on editing for fluency. Also, there will be numerous articles and examples regarding higher order editing on this blog. So if you enjoy spending some time on a depressing topic, feel free to look around!