Editor Meme

I’m going to vent for a moment, because market research is making me insane.

No matter how good you think you are, you need an editor: one who does this for a living, one whose work you like, and one who will cost you money. Yes, it’s going to cost you money to publish your book. I know that goes against the whole idea you have of self-publishing — it’s supposed to be easy and free. You know what’s easy, free, and leads to instant success?


Self-publishing without hiring an editor is stepping in the ring when all you’ve done is shadowbox. You are going to get hurt, and you’re going to embarrass yourself. Hire a coach. Find a sparring partner who’s better than you are. A good editor is both.

I’m looking at you, SmashWords Fantasy Section. Holy shit.

There are better writers than me out there. Let’s get that out of the way, first. There are writers out there whose prose makes me want to read a paragraph or even one telling line time and again, just for the sound of the words in my head. (“Who needs tomes and volumes of history? Children are dying. The injustices of the world hide in those three words.” – Steven Erikson in Deadhouse Gates)

But I digress. Let’s get back to Smashwords. Let’s get back to self-publishing.

The fact that you can type sixty thousand words in a row does not mean you can write. I’m sorry; I’m not your mother and I’m not your Little League coach and I’m not going to sit here and tell you you’re awesome. Typing is not writing.

And yeah, I’m going to be an uppity dick about this because I write and lecture for a living. Words are my life. Words are my contribution to the world.

By the way, if you want someone to be nice to you about your writing and coach you along without bullshitting you, YA writer and all-around awesome person Tiana Warner has an amazing FREE book about how to get your book published. She’s a lot less face-punchy about getting your shit edited than I am, so if I’m offending your tender sensibilities or you think you need a tissue right now, go see Tiana.

You’re still here?


You need an editor.

If I need an editor, you need an editor. Trust me on this.

The trick is, as you mature as a writer — and maybe you have; if not, you will — you need to find an editor who understands your writing style and wants to polish it, not work it over and make your voice into her voice. The trick to that, of course, is that you have to write enough that you develop a distinct style in the first place, and then write enough that your style can stand up to an editor’s red pen. Which brings us back to self-published fantasy. Oh. My. God.

The ease of self-publishing apparently leads people to think that writing a book is a road analogous to becoming YouTube famous. This is the only explanation I can find as to why 90% of what I’m reading right now as I research the market is appalling.

I’m not talking about books I don’t care for. I’m talking about bad writing. I’m talking about reckless and criminal murderizin’ of the King’s English.

I mean for all intensive purposes when an Author doesn’t know, there not supposed to abruptly change you’re “Point of View” and ect, than it effects me as a Reader and I loose interest.

And if that sentence read fine to you and you think you should self-publish, you are killing the craft.

Get an editor. Do what I did: get several; get samples. Hire one. Fire him if he’s fucking with your style, and find another.

But for the love of God, edit your shit.