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You’ve got a great idea for a book. You’ve spent days, weeks, months, or possibly years to get it “just right.” Now it’s ready for printing, right?

Your next step must be a thorough professional edit.

As a book reviewer and publisher, I get many requests to read and review books by first-time authors—and a few who already have published. Sadly, only about half of the books I read these days have any signs of a good edit, which means I can’t give it a totally positive review.

For the lack of investing as little as $500* prior to publishing, these authors are walking away from true success.

  • That brilliant children’s book you’ve written will never be recommended by a teacher or shared in a classroom. Librarians will hide it.
  • Even the patient reader will become frustrated by the tenth or twelfth obvious mistake, which I experience in the first chapter (if not before) in most manuscripts I’ve edited.
  • Oprah and NPR will never feature your book. Book clubs will run away from it. Reviewers will shun it.
  • Disregarding professional editing can make the difference between your book’s success and its guaranteed slide into oblivion.

Yes, I understand your great aunt Susan was an English teacher for 25 years and she gave your manuscript her blessings. I’m certain your best friend looked it over with a “critical” eye, and she discovered a couple of corrections. Your own mother loves the manuscript from cover to the end.

BUT, no one has reviewed your manuscript from the Chicago Manual Style (CMS) viewpoint—yes, that’s the publishing industry’s standard of hard-and-fast punctuation, grammar, capitalization, and presentation of words. A professional editor can rid your book of poor punctuation; misspellings; embarrassing wrong word choices (you, your, you’re; to, two, too; lose, loose, etc.); awkward verb tense changes. If you’re not sure what any of this means, hire a professional editor today.

A seasoned editor will review your manuscript like no other. We re-read your manuscript thoroughly at least three times, catching mis-steps and mistakes each round. We will eliminate redundancy, add consistency, and make you look good. And we will be blatantly honest—something you need at this critical stage of getting your masterpiece published. Don’t be afraid; the right editor is your best ally.

*Editing is typically charged on a per-word basis.

By Bonnie Lee Lewis, The Virtual Scribe,

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