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Thursday, February 17, 2011

So, Can You Publish a Professional Book without an Editor

My SharingwithWriters newsletter often includes a segment called Q&A a la Ann Landers. Because this question recently posed to me has to do with editing, I thought I'd reprint it here. There is always at least one editing tip in that letter and tons for writers in general. If you would like to subscribe send an e-mail to HoJoNews (at) AOL (dot) com with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.  Here is the Q&A from a Facebook friend:


Hello Carolyn, how are you?...I'm doing GREAT on this end. I still Love your book The Frugal Book Promoter. I haven't gotten The Frugal Editor yet, which leads me to my question. In your professional opinion, do you believe that a person can SUCCESSFULLY publish a book without getting a professional editor? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for your time and assistance.
~ Billie Miller


You can do a darn good job of publishing a book on your own without an editor if you're willing to tackle that huge learning curve required to learn about real editing, not just grammar and structure and style choices and on and on. And you’re willing to take the pains to utilize lots of fellow writers and friends as readers.

But your finished book will still not be as polished as you probably hope for. Great editors, formatters, indexers, etc. take years to learn their craft and they just keep learning. So, if you want a book that is professional and credible with folks in the publishing industry, it's best to have one. The Frugal Editor ( ) tells you how to hire a good one. And it will help you know when you have a good one. And it will help you partner with a good one. I encourage you to try to find a good one.  But mostly it helps you do better everyday editing you need when an editor isn't available. Things like blog posts, query letters, book proposals--the stuff that can make or break you writing career.

There are no bargains out there when it comes to great editing. I have reedited books for authors in the past and know the challenges in finding an editor who does more than search for typos and grammar errors. Hope this helps.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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