Every once in a while the question gets asked on social media, do you need a professional editor? Or, more bluntly put, what good is an editor anyway? As someone who has been edited by some wonderful editors as well as paid for some horrid ones, as well as someone who has edited authors, I feel uniquely qualified to talk about this subject.

A second pair of eyes for your work is invaluable. And the programs out there that are supposed to take the place of an editor often don’t understand style, tone, or even good rules of grammar. (Don’t worry, I’ll be talking about my experiences with a few of them later).

An editor is knowledgeable about the genre, both historically and currently. The editor is a reader. The editor also is aware of general English usage, grammar, and punctuation. When you put all of this together, you get an individual who can read your book, see where it may be derivative, note where it may be unique, as well as what generally works and what doesn’t. You’ll have someone who can read it for typos, missed punctuation, and grammatical mistakes. But, this person will also be aware of your style and discuss that style with you so that the changes enhance the writing, not obliterate it.

Even though I’ve been published for over twenty years, as an author, I still have projects I use an editor for. Others, I feel pretty comfortable in, and I have my own personal editing process as well. I think every author should use an editor where and when possible.