to edit or not to edit

Editors … do we really need them?

I found the following article in the Killer Nashville Magazine the other day and I couldn’t resist sharing it. 

We Don’t Need Editors, Do We?
by Philip Demetry

“If you do a quick Google search on the benefits and costs of self-publishing versus a traditional route, you will most likely find one blog post after the other, one website after the other, claiming that self-publishing is the way to go. How many of those are in some form inserted into your feed by Amazon, no one can truly tell, but it would be foolish not to suspect the multi-billion-dollar corporation of consciously making their presence felt in the publishing industry. In fact, quite a lot of statistics are backing that claim up.
Some claim that the sea of digital self-publishing, having made publishing accessible regardless of quality, is causing traditional publishing houses to crumble. Indeed, this has been the case for some. Small publishers have drowned while larger ones have merged to form even greater giants to withstand the pressure. But will it work? Compared to Amazon even the merger between Penguin and Random House seems small.

So, what are authors to do? What are publishers to do? And more importantly, with traditional filters in the publishing industry overridden, are good stories to drown in seas of mediocrity? Many authors have sought out the aid of freelance editors. Over all of social media there seems to be an abundance of editors willing to giver your story a once-over for a fee. This leaves writers with the question of credibility. Without a publishing house, what credentials can a freelance editor boast to ensure their clients of their editorial prowess? It seems then, that whether you go the traditional route, get an agent, a publisher and a book deal, which only the very few will get, or you decide to self-publish, there can be no doubt that writing books for a living is a goal at the end of a long and arduous road.

It becomes then a philosophical question. The author must ask of themselves: “Why do I write? For whom am I writing?” It might be possible, at the end of your questioning, to arrive at the conclusion that you write primarily for your own benefit, that writing is an exercise in introspection at the end of which a story will emerge expressing that introspection in a way others might relate to. Yet, upon completing this goal a need will arise to share what you have created. It is within this spectrum between one’s personal joy of writing for the sake of writing, and a need to share stories with others, that a writer must find their peace.

Wherever you land on that spectrum beware of the work your ambition requires and measure it against what happiness you hope to gain from it.
A writer is nothing more or less than a storyteller. We do not concern ourselves with marketing, finance, or strategy in conceiving of our stories.
Motivations then, concerning fame, influence, and wealth will never enhance our chances of getting published successfully. The only thing that lies within our power is the ability to improve our writing. Train your writing skills.

You can read tips on querying till your face turns blue, but it will never amount to anything if the story isn’t there. Simultaneously self-publishing, with all it’s demands for a writer to be both author, marketer, and your own editor, may seem appealing. Yet it might be good to consider what influences has made you take this route. Has the Amazon giant gotten under your skin, luring you with their “up to” 70% in royalties on sales, with their alluring tag-lines “easy, clear, free?”
Consider things you’ve gotten for free. Has any of it ever come without a price? How much value is in the editorial process, which for a traditional publishing house usually takes a year or more? Can your story compete without it?”