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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We need editors (The Ancient Editor)

Barbara Lalicki has a new post over at The Ancient Editor on the vital importance of editors. You should read it.
Only the rising clamor about pricing e-books–they should be cheap because there’s no paper involved–and the excitement about self-published books makes me feel it may be necessary to “sell editing” (not to mention the other vital and unseen components of the traditional publishing process.)
No kidding. Writers absolutely need editors-- the e-book has made it appear easy to get a book ready for market, but the truth is that what an editor brings to a book is all but impossible for the writer to provide for themselves.

At HarperCollins, the editor I worked with on the first two Alex Van Helsing books was an irreplaceable part of the team. She was the one who would argue with me about plot points when I would not have argued enough with myself. No side always wins these debates-- and they're usually less debates than an array of what about this? Did you think of this-- but the books benefit from that. You cannot do it alone. Sure, you could try getting your best friend, spouse or writing group to do it, but the problem is this: if no one is as invested in your book as you are, the very next person is your editor. It's their job to get it as right as they can. That's not true of your friends.

We need editors-- which means we need to pay for them, which means that we incorrectly express the cost of producing a book if we don't bring the cost of these professionals into account.

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