Last updated: 24 September, 2019
Some things are best left to experts. Electric wiring. Plumbing. Car repairs. Editing. If you decide to cheap out and do it yourself when you lack the training and experience, you risk finding yourself shocked, all wet, left by the roadside… and that’s just if you mess up the editing, never mind those other things.
Everyone makes mistakes. All it takes is a few words that can be misread horribly, amusingly, or horribly amusingly, and you’ll get spread all over social media (and not for the reason you want) – or all over the floor of a courtroom (with a legal decision against you).
Independent editors are available for as little as an hour at a time. You can hire an editor when and as you need one, just like an electrician, plumber or mechanic. But don’t wait until you have a disaster – hire professionals to prevent disasters.
Editors do a lot more than catch errors. They tighten your text and make it more effective in conveying your message to your audience. A text that hasn’t been professionally edited can often be spotted as easily as fridge art can be distinguished from gallery art. But what really stands out is when lack of an editorial eye costs you money – and reputation.
It doesn’t matter who you are and what your responsibilities include:
All of these have happened in real life, some of them several times. A good editor could have prevented all of them and saved many times the editing fee. In fact, good editors do prevent things like this many times a day. You don’t hear about it because the mistakes were caught in time.
When you’re dealing with the text that’s your face to the world, you can’t afford not to get a professional. A professional editor will most likely be ready, willing and able to tighten, strengthen and embarrassment-proof your text for less than the cost of the time it took to write it, let alone the time it would take you to rewrite it. They might even be able to have it back to you within an hour or two, especially if you have a good ongoing relationship. Good text pays for itself in increased revenue – and with the revenue you won’t lose because of a job disastrously done.
If you don’t have an in-house editor on your staff, there are many advantages of using an independent editor. Here are a few of them:
You’re not the first person to think that an independent editor is out of the question. Here are some common reasons for not hiring an editor, together with how to address them so that you can deliver all the benefits for your organization:
Editors have a wide variety of areas of subject expertise and specialization. Some have decades of experience with government or legal documents; some have doctoral degrees in math or agriculture or clinical psychology; some have built up a long list of projects on molecular gastronomy, mediaeval French society, oil exploration, or mental health treatment. What they all have in common is that they really like helping other people communicate more effectively – and they’re very good at it. Every text you’ve really enjoyed or found useful has had one or more editors who helped make it that way, and you may even be able to hire those same editors.
Independent editors are everywhere. Start with an association in your country or region and check their directory of members, which should include qualifications, experience and specialties. You’ll be amazed at the quality and variety of editors you’ll find: