Who is still living, thank God.
If I’m reading a book that’s not a legal thriller or cozy mystery it’s because its either written by a friend or it’s nonfiction, teaching me something I need to know.
As I read those books, invariably I find boo boos—usually wrong word choices or grammar. Like on the first page of one novel: “She set her purse on the cadenza.” Or another: “He lied down in the grass.” I even found a typo in a Dave Barry book.
When asked about her writing process by a radio host, a new author said she didn’t hire an editor, she just loaded her book onto Amazon and figured her friends would catch the errors for her.
When I find mistakes, I can’t contain myself; I must verbalize about them to MyHusbandTheEngineer.
MHTE: “If you’re so good at catching mistakes, why do you need an editor?” He did not mean this as a compliment.
Me: “You’ve seen Cynthia’s red ink all over my manuscripts. A figurative blood bath!” My editor needed no defending.
Editing is far more than punctuation and grammar. It’s nuance; it’s giving the writer alternative ways of phrasing (i.e., “will your readers ‘get it?’”). ; structure suggestions.
“But my friend/brother/aunt got “A”s in English and they edit my work.” you say. That’s the problem. They want to remain your friend/brother/aunt (in good standing) and to brutalize your work would jeopardize that. Truly, you don’t know what you’re missing unless you have a professional editor. But you could just blithely publish away and let Amazon reviews tell you.
Cynthia is so good that sometimes I feel that I should add her as co-author.