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Do You Need an Editor? The Answer Might Surprise You (Part 1)

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Once upon a time, there was a writing expert. And she was invited to speak at the Maryland Writer’s Association annual Brain to Bookshelf conference on editing.

With that in mind, she crafted the following description for her speech:

Do You Need an Editor? The Answer Might Surprise You…
Hiring a professional editor is a money-consuming process. Even if a book manuscript contains no typos, awkward sentences, confusing points or run-on thoughts, it could easily cost $500.
Writers need to know their money-saving options by understanding the publishing route they’re planning on (i.e., traditional or self-publishing), the benefits of beta readers, and the kind of editor they’re looking for. The ultimate answer is yes. They should get one involved. But they can bring that cost down to as low as $0 if they play their cards right.

Then she set about turning that premise into a presentation. A really good, helpful, informative one too… that may or may not ever be spoken out loud due to an unexpected issue I know you’ve heard of:

Covid-19, also known as the coronavirus.

Due to Covid-19 – aka the coronavirus, aka the toilet paper-stealing terror – the Brain to Bookshelf conference is now officially postponed. Though to exactly when, the no-doubt very stressed-out organizers aren’t sure.

That’s why I’m presenting my speech here at Innovative Editing over the course of the next few weeks instead. Here’s how it was supposed to go…

Hi. My name is Jeannette DiLouie, and I want to make a promise to you today. The promise is this: I’m going to do my very best to be as accurate, honest and helpful as possible about editing.

In order to do that though, I have to first admit that I’m biased on the subject.

I’m biased because I’m an editor myself. I’ve been an editor in the strict sense of the word for over a decade now, first at a financial publishing company in Baltimore and now as a one-woman business running Innovative Editing.

I like to call Innovative Editing – and therefore myself – a full-service editorial business, because I'll help people on just about any writing or editing project that I can. I’ll help:

  • High school and college students polish up their academic admission essays

  • Businesses with their blog posts, promotional material, articles and such

  • Creative and nonfiction writers with their manuscripts no matter where they are in those endeavors

  • Individuals with random projects.

So, yes, I really am biased on the subject. Moreover, I’m passionate about the subject. I love almost everything about what I do... which is helping people present themselves as clearly and engagingly as they possibly can.


Partially because I genuinely do like helping people. And partially because I know that, when I read an educational article, a website, or a book, I expect a certain level of professionalism.

And I want to help add that touch however I can.

So, now that you know where I’m coming from when I talk about editing, let’s talk about where you’re coming from.

I may not know you personally, but I’m sure I can guess that, as a writer – fiction or nonfiction – when you think of hiring an editor, you’re thinking of someone who can put the finishing polish on your manuscript to really make it worthy of publishing: something you can put out to the public and be proud of.

Am I right?

I’m also imagining that, when you hope for an editor, you’re hoping for someone who can do that without breaking your bank. Because, let’s face it, unless you’ve got a Random House-level publishing contract going on, employing a proper editor can be expensive.

Exorbitantly so, sometimes.

If you’re going to involve one, there’s a not-horribly-long but still very important list of details you need to know. The next few weeks are going to try to break down your options and resources to make this process as cost-efficient as possible.

Next Wednesday, we’ll address the question of cost. As in how much you should expect to pay.

If you like your money as it is – with you – then you probably want to pay attention.

Editor’s Note: Read the next post on "Do You Need an Editor?" here.

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