Monday, October 21, 2013

Don't Try this at Home ... Self-Editing

I run into writers who are also professional editors. I'm sure they're all very good at their jobs. These same writers often get it into their heads that they don't need an editor -- they're editors. Most of the time I can talk them out of the "I-know-how" tree and back down to the ground and their best interests. These writers are often skeptical of my intentions since they falsely believe, "Well, she's just trying to make money." I am naturally in business to make money; but I'm not telling people they need an editor because I'm trying to make money. I'm telling them what I'll just call a "flat fact," which goes like this: even the editor needs an editor.

Here are the reasons why even if you're the queen or king of editing, you, too, need an editor:

  • Snow blind AKA computer screen blindness -- I think of it as snow blindness since the screen background is white. Time and time again our minds insert words where none exist. It's a weird mind trick that the reader has no control over. Snow blindness increases in direct proportion to how many times you've read the same page or sentence. 
  • You don't even know it's wrong in the first place so how are you going to correct it? Even the best editor often doesn't know a certain grammar rule or usage is wrong. How are you supposed to correct something you never even knew was wrong? And my favorite saying, "If it's wrong yesterday it's still wrong today." This saying applies to print books. eBook offer more flexibility to make changes after they're released; but print stays with you like a chocolate stain on white pants.
  • Consistency -- perhaps one of the best memory teasers is consistency in usage. The term isn't wrong, but maybe the author has adopted a certain style in the manuscript. He or she may inconsistently apply the style, but because it's a unique style, a seasoned editor will catch it. The main objective here is if it's done a certain way once it should always be applied, and an outside set of eyes is more likely to catch it.
  • Fresh as a daisy AKA a fresh set of eyes -- you just can't get around someone who has never read the book being able to see things in a whole new light. Editor or writer doesn't matter; you've written and read your own work so many times you lose perspective. Someone who comes at your manuscript fresh will see things you simply don't see anymore. Also, much like snow blindness, your mind has probably inserted certain things into the story or writing that just isn't there on the page. A fresh set of eyes is going to see the whole picture and spot anything missing. 
If you need an editor (which I am going to say again: we all need an editor), please contact us at 3L Publishing ( We provide all levels of editorial services. Please contact us at or send an email to 

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