I have enormous respect for editors usually. They are, in my mind, an essential part of the story making process, whether they check line by line, improve the story or whatever their specialty is.
What I do NOT like, however, are those who probably charge an author a reasonable amount of money to edit and do a lousy job. These days, everyone knows to use an editor or two, if necessary. Whether that editor is a story editor, a spelling editor or any other type of editor, if they are being paid for doing this work, then they should do it properly.
Maybe if I hadn’t just bought three, yes, three, books by different authors whose work I wanted to read, one of whom was a well-known ebook writer and found ALL of them riddled with errors that editors should have spotted immediately I would not have been so annoyed. After all, in one of those books, four errors were on the first damned page and averaged one almost every page from there on.
This infuriated me. I had wanted to check the author’s styles out. I had wanted to enjoy them and the techniques used. The money I spent was immaterial. I had simply wanted to enjoy them. It was the disappointment of owning three books which were second class because of the errors in editing that really hurt.
I don’t know if these writers did their own editing. If they did, perhaps they were exhausted and tired of the production. But that is no excuse for allowing poor work to go out into the world. If you are sick of the work, put it away for a day or so, do something else to clear your mind then come back to it. Or get someone fresh to read it and mark the parts they find misspelled or whatever. One or two mistakes in perhaps 10,000 words is acceptable if the story is great. Any more though and it smacks of disdain for the readers.
My advice to authors is to read your work at least several times before publishing it. I know – it sounds a drag to do so, but you will reap the rewards from your readers. Put your book or story away for one day at least. Then start the process below.
Make one read for the story, another for the spelling and grammar, and a third to see if there are any other things you can find to fix. Or you can use this last read simply to enjoy the story, although you probably know it by heart by now.
Then put it away for one more day and give it a final read. Only then self-publish or send it out to wherever you have planned to send it and start something else.
I know you are impatient to get rid of it, to see what readers think of it, have any numbers of reasons to want it gone from your drawer, laptop or tablet. There is no reason on earth to put out badly edited work into the atmosphere.
Just take some time to fix your errors before you disappoint readers. You would be amazed at the number of readers who have a bad experience such as I had and simply will not give those writers another chance. After all, there are so many books out there which are edited properly that they can borrow, buy and enjoy. Unconsciously we expect the same experience, no matter how good the next work may be in editing or readability anjd we are not wired to repeat bad experiences, especially in reading.
On the other hand, editors should take care with EVERY piece of writing they work on. Especially if they charge writers good money for doing so. The read through, depending on what you are doing with the work, goes also for you.
Take your time, even though the writer is in a hurry to get their work back. It is also easy for the writer to blame the editor for a poor piece of work which, but for the lack of a proper reading and fixing, could have been good.
Like books, there are so many editors in the world these days and if you earn a reputation as a sloppy editor, then that is your livelihood wrecked, as that sort of reputation gets around quickly. Some savvy writers are now crediting their editor in their books, so it is easy to see how good/bad you are.
I am NOT singling editors out, but simply making some suggestions as to how writers and editors can add to the experience of a reader. The story may be lousy, but it can be easier to swallow if the work is without errors that can be fixed.
It is so easy to be tipped out of a book by a simple editing mistake. Some mistakes are just there and no one really notices them. I have one well-loved book in my collection which I have reread at least six times. The last reread only a few weeks ago has a mistake I have never noticed before. It is the last word on the line and is ‘Sire’ instead of ‘Sir’. I have owned that book for about ten years.
But this type of error is easy to ignore. It can tip you out of a story, but not often, unless the word is very important and the story good, which this one is.
So really read your work before you put it out for others to see. Mistakes will happen, as in the case of above. Often readers will come to your story, be interested and then be thrown out of it by bad editing. They will possibly forgive one mistake. But not several. And nine times out of ten, you will lose them forever.
Take care and enjoy your writing.