Cashing out with a professional editor

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How to plan a successful book launch; part one
Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh

Imagine that you have written a book, printed it and sent it out to shops to sell, then someone calls to tell you that you have false information in it, and actually presents evidence to prove it. How would you feel?

What about finding out that your post on social media, movie script or blog post is riddled with grammatical errors?

You see, the next thing after completing your manuscript is to ensure that all mistakes are corrected.  However, editing is more than just correcting typos. A good edit will make your script soar. Here’s the thing about editing; you cannot do it all on your own. There are limits to self-editing. When you write an article, book, script or speech your mind has an idea of what you intended to say, so usually you miss out on errors even when you are prudent at looking out for them. In essence, you see what you are thinking, rather than what you have actually written. This is perhaps best captured in the African proverb which is rendered to suggest that the one that cuts the path doesn’t know it is crooked.

The magic happens when you partner with a professional editor; you experience the true transformative power of refining your manuscript. The editors reads the script from the reader’s perspective and in addition an unbiased critical approach, and is able to point out simple mistakes that you might have overlooked.

In this write up, we discuss the types of editors and the biggest reasons why you should consider working with them. Whether your publication is for non-profit or commercial purposes understanding the critical essence of editing can impact your material significantly.

  1. Fact Checker

If you have a lot of specialized or technical information in your script, especially if it is nonfiction, you should have your manuscript reviewed by a fact checker. This type of editor examines the factual references, checks for inaccuracies and verifies the information using external resources. Their work is to simply ascertain if what you have written is true so that you do not end up misinforming your readers and also embarrassing yourself with a false publication.

Scripts that contain a lot of history will also require the services of fact checkers. There have been instances where people have made posts on social media and had to pull them down later because they didn’t verify the facts. As Kwadwo Sheldon says, ‘information w) wiase’. You want to save yourself the embarrassment of critical readers who do further investigation to check your facts.

  1. Content Editor

A content editor focuses on line editing; the content and flow of your work. Content editors address overall content structure, and also point out inconsistencies in style, wrong word choices and paragraphs that could be rewritten.

Content editors check every aspect of your writing, and offer the most feedback to make sure you have relevant content. They also check for plagiarism to help you avoid the embarrassment of reproducing another person’s work.  This scrutiny can certainly be annoying but worth the hype.

  1. Critique Partner

A critique partner can be another writer or someone who has knowledge about writing and can relate to the challenges that writers face. As fellow writers, critique partners will often be able to point out specific errors in your writing style because they have faced similar challenges themselves.

These editors will not only be able to give their best feedback after you have completed a full draft, they may also be able to offer helpful tips during the writing process. Who can be your buddy when it comes to this?

  1. Proofreader

Also known as Copy editors, proofreaders are the nitpickers who focus on the basics of your writing; grammar, formatting, word choice, and punctuation. These editors look over content after it has gone through the other stages of editing.  Their work is like ants searching for food; they check every corner and carry even the minutest particle.

In the same way, proofreaders check the tiniest details, in fact, the most basic; words that are supposed to begin with upper cases or not, word tenses, paragraph transitions, etc. Proof-readers can be likened to undercover detective agents.

  1. Beta Reader

A beta reader is usually not a professional editor. When you are ready to enlist the feedback of a beta reader, your manuscript should have already completed the professional editing rounds. Beta readers give you a layman’s opinion of your write up, which lets you know where your writing is strong and where it might still need more work to appeal to your audience. Some people say Ghanaian comedians are not funny, and I believe this narrative can be reduced when our comedians use beta editors.

You may write a joke and laugh your heart out after reading it, but will your audience laugh the same way? Let two or three people read it, while you observe their reaction. They may be able to give insights that will boost your script.

Editors basically guide you to produce a writeup that is acceptable and devoid of controversies, falsehood and misinformation. However, the type of work you are producing will inform the type of editor to engage; you may not need all of them at the same time.

Editors’ job is to help shape your work in the best way possible. Some can be harsh and blunt in doing so, but yours is to keep an open mind and follow the suggestions they give. You will get your work cut out for you in the end. Let your editing do the talking.

>>>The writer is a corporate trainer, book publishing consultant and professional ghostwriter assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles, and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency.

You can contact the author via:

[email protected]

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