One advantage is hiring the help of a professional editor or writing coach. This may be a bit of a controversial subject. But I'd like to take a few minutes to discuss the benefits of using one.
I started using a professional editor, Tiffany Colter of Writing Career Coach, to help critique my contest entries. I decided to continue using her for two reasons:
- I knew I needed objective feedback, but I didn't have the time or energy at this point in my life to devote to the give and take of a critique group.
- Once I started getting her feedback, I realized she has pushed me to think deeper about my writing than I ever thought possible and is helping me bring it to a higher level.
Rachelle Gardner recently left a comment to one of my posts and it pertains to the issue of hiring professional editors. Here's what she said:
"Just to add my two cents... I'm a little surprised that any writer striving to be a professional would come down so hard against paying for editing or manuscript help. Many working writers with multiple book contracts work with editors on their books prior to delivering them to the publisher. This means those authors are paying out of their own pocket to get objective assistance and make sure they deliver their best possible work to their publisher.
Of course, once you're contracted with a publisher, your publisher will spend literally thousands of dollars on getting your book edited. Editing is a valuable service that often makes the difference between having a good book a great book.
Yes, it's true, we all should be working as hard as we can on learning how to edit our own work. But nothing can substitute for the objective eye of an outsider, someone who is skilled in bringing the best out of you. You can edit your book yourself until you're blue in the face; and then you'd be shocked at how many things an objective editor would find to improve.
Now, I understand that finances play a huge role in our ability or inability to hire an editor. We need to make smart financial choices. But I'd recommend we avoid harboring some kind of ideological bias against paying for an editor. Most of us need editing!
I'm pretty sure that Jody's use of a writing coach made the difference between a book that I want to love and one that I really DO love. (Well, actually TWO books that I love.)"
As Rachelle mentioned, there are some drawbacks to hiring an editor. Cost is one of the biggest. Another is the tendency to grow lazy and sloppy in our own editing. I'd like to tackle both of those issues further tomorrow.
But for today, I'd like to know your opinions. What we writers really need is OBJECTIVE feedback on our work. Do you think writers can get enough quality feedback from critique partners, groups, or beta readers? Or do we ever reach a point when that's not enough anymore and we need to seek professional help? If so, when is that point?