|Photo credit: Nick Harris1 on Flickr|
So I’ve kind of written bits and pieces of this post before, but after coming across a painfully erroneous comment on a blog post earlier this week (not my own), I felt the need to say this again, in more detail. So here we go.
If your goal is to be a successful published writer, whether self or traditionally published, then you need to take editing and revisions seriously. They’re not optional. Period. No exceptions. Done.
This means a few things.
First, it means you need critique partners and beta readers. There are loads of places to find them, particularly online, and I broke down some great CP-finding resources here, so I’m not going to go over that again. But before you even think about submitting your work somewhere or hiring an editor, please take the time to find some critique partners. I recommend at least two (three is even better, in case you need a tie-breaker), but if you can handle swapping with more, go for it.
After you’ve swapped with betas and CPs, you need to look at their notes and make changes accordingly. This is the part where you decide what you want to change and what you don’t. Remember, it’s your story, but take the time to consider every comment carefully. Sometimes I find it helps to read through it, then let it sit for a day before you dive into edits, but it’s up to you.
However many times you repeat the process is also up to you, but the point is that you get it looked at by several people and take time to make the changes you need.
The changes you’ll be making in this stage are a good thing. Your CPs will see weaknesses that you didn’t, because you’re too close to your words. They’ll point out areas that are confusing, or slow, or difficult to understand, or whatever the case may be. This serves two purposes—not only does it help your book, but it helps you learn what areas you need to work on.
As far as hiring an editor goes, I personally only think this is necessary if you’re self-publishing. But if you are self-publishing, then it’s not an option. Traditionally published books don’t hit the shelves without passing under the careful gaze of an editor for a reason—editors help you get to the core of your story and really make it shine.
Can you hire an editor before submitting to agents or a small press? Sure, if you want to. But I wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t passed it through a couple critique partners, first.
In the end, the point is this: editing and revision are vital parts of the writing process. Even if you manage to write beautiful, gleaming first drafts, a first draft is never ready for straight publication or submissions. Some manuscripts naturally need more editing than others, but regardless, this is a step that you can’t skip. Not if you’re taking your work seriously.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree that editing and revision are not optional?
"If your goal is to be a successful published writer...you need to take editing & revisions seriously." (Click to tweet)
Writer @Ava_Jae says editing and revisions are never optional. Do you agree or disagree? (Click to tweet)