February 21, 2018

Editing, a Key Ingredient for Publishing Success

By  Elizabeth M. Garrett

Months ago, I stood before a Christian writers group and read a devotional I’d written. I felt sure I had polished it to perfection. Before I had even begun to delve into the “meaty” part, I noticed an error. Ouch! I had included a scripture and had just read over a typo.

As authors, being familiar with what we’ve written can be a great detriment when producing a final product.

Have you ever written a manuscript, polished it, and felt it was ready for print, when you realize you gave a secondary character two different names? Or, maybe you spelled a proper noun three different ways. When you reviewed it, you knew what it was supposed to say, so you just read right over it.

Most writers I know feel a true calling to write and publish. While many have a real gift for the writing craft, they’re still not perfect. Although the product might have a compelling story line or provide helpful information, the writing quality plays a large role in whether or not a reader stays engaged until the end. A good editor can make the difference.

Published works often take weeks, months, maybe even years to develop into a final piece. Producing a book with quite a few errors or weak writing would be a shame after putting so much time and energy into something. I’ve also known writers to spend lots of money for editing, only to have it re-edited due to so many errors.

When searching for an editor, I encourage you to request a free sample edit and review credentials and references. Also, I suggest you interview people to see who would be a good fit.  Receiving constructive criticism of any kind isn’t easy, much less when it pertains to a project saturated in your blood, sweat, and tears.

Following are five things I recommend you look for in an editor:
1)      Someone who will suggest revisions, but will maintain your writing style.
2)      When suggesting a change, he or she will provide reasons.
3)      Someone who will challenge you in your writing and help you become a better writer.
4)      Someone whose goal is to strengthen and polish your work, not rewrite it.
5)      An encouraging person with candor, tact, and integrity.

In today’s crowded publishing marketplace, a quality product will go a long way in setting your manuscript apart. Having a good editor with whom you have a great working relationship can play a vital role in your publishing success.
Elizabeth M. Garrett serves as editor and sole proprietor of Polish Point Editing, a web-based business founded in 2016. With thirty years of professional editing and public relations experience, she recently wrote and produced a webinar, “Masterclass in Public Relations for Authors” available through Her creative works, both fiction and non-fiction, have been published in three collections, with another one on the way. Social Media Links:

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