Edit My Novel

Why Do I Need an Editor?

The benefits of editing

By Cara Lockwood


As a writer, you spend months, and often years, in solitary seclusion in front of your computer, carefully and painstakingly writing your novel. Anyone who’s ever attempted to write knows that it’s a labor of love, blood, sweat and tears. After finally getting every last character, every last scene, every last detail just to your liking, you’ve finally finished. So, why do you need an editor?

It’s simple: the best art is never created in a vacuum. 

Every bestselling author, from J.K. Rowling to Stephen King, has a very savvy editor in their corner.   


 Can you spot the typo here? A familiar phrase (or one you've written yourself) is often the hardest to edit. Our brains don't see the errors as easily because they fill-in-the-blanks with the right answer.

You need a good editor and editing services for these simple reasons:

  • Editors save your embarrassment. Maybe you spent the entire manuscript using “they’re” for “their” or maybe you simply missed the fact that a character who had blue eyes on page one, suddenly had brown eyes on page fourteen (believe me, these mistakes happen all the time).
  • You need an objective eye. Everyone loses objectivity about their own work, and you might even say it’s possible you never had it. While you might think your plot works just fine, someone else might say it’s slow, or convoluted, or needs to be streamlined. 
  • Editors build confidence. Yes, you are submitting your work for a critique, but feedback helps you be a better writer, and getting better builds your confidence.
  • A copyeditor gives you the luxury of having a test run. Editors allow you to “test” your work before you put it out there for a wider audience. This enables you to make sure you hit all the right notes. Think of it as a dress rehearsal before the big show. It’s your chance to practice and work out problems before the theater is full.
  • Copyediting and proofreading aren’t just for grammar geeks. With thousands of new self-published e-books popping up per day, competition is fiercer than it’s ever been. If your manuscript is riddled with typos and other mistakes, you’ll never get noticed for all thewrong reasons.
  • No one sets out to write a bad novel, but there are still plenty of them out there. The fact is no one dreams of writing America’s Worst Novel. To make sure yours doesn’t land on that list, get constructive feedback from an experienced editor.
  • Editors can give you your "ah-ha!" moment. Editors can often point out problems that you suspected, but now have confirmed. That confirmation can inspire you to fix the issues with your novel and have a stronger manuscript.
  • Novel-writing may be new to you, but it’s not to editors. A typical editor will have read more books, been to more book conferences, and generally accumulated more knowledge about character development, plot pacing and general style than you have. You have been focusing on one novel (yours), while editors read hundreds. You may not have edited dozens of science fiction and fantasy books, but I have. My experience reading them can help your book be better.
  • Editors can give you a road map to fix your novel. No novel is perfect. Every novel can be improved. Editors give you a plan to make your novel the best it can be.

And, my favorite reasons of all: Feedback can reenergize you. While writing is mostly a solitary pursuit, it doesn’t have to be something that you do entirely alone. Editors who treat your work seriously can give you the energy and enthusiasm you need to finish your novel or manuscript with confidence. 

Want to read more? Check out The Writer.