Top 5 Ways Authors Sabotage Their Own Book

by Joel Friedlander on October 20, 2014 · 31 comments

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by Shayla Eaton (@CuriouserEdit)

Over the years The Book Designer has featured guest articles by authors, designers, marketing pros, and many others in the field of self-publishing. But more than any other people involved in publishing, we’ve featured editors.

The reason for this is that editing is crucial to self-publishers, and should be the number 1 priority on an author’s list when they start thinking about getting a book ready for publication. Nothing will prejudice readers against your book—except for a boring book, that is—than a sloppy presentation or worse, a completely unedited one.

Today Shayla Eaton looks at some of the attitudes that cause authors to hurt their own prospects by trying to avoid the editing process, or by rationalizing it away. Here’s her article.


Authors work hard—there’s no doubt about that. They get up early and stay up late. They drink copious amounts of caffeine to break out just one hundred more words. They dream about their characters and create marvelous worlds for their readers. Some dedicate their lives to writing their novels.

So why do so many authors work so hard only to sabotage their books by neglecting to hire a professional editor?

Here are some common answers:

  1. “Professional editors are expensive.”
  2. “An editor will butcher my unique voice.”
  3. “How will I know if my book is properly edited?”
  4. “I used an editor once, and my book had errors. I won’t do that again.”
  5. “I edited my book myself, so I don’t need an editor.”

These notions are all false. Whether you’ve decided to pursue self-publishing or if you’re gearing up to submit your manuscript to an agent or publisher, your book must be professionally edited. Without a polished manuscript, poor Amazon reviews will saturate your feed, publishers will toss your book in the “no” pile, and agents will groan just a little louder.

Let’s counter these misconceptions of hiring a professional editor, shall we?

1. “Professional editors are expensive.”

Have you ever attended a wedding for which the bride and groom opted to have their unskilled family member photograph their wedding, only to receive shoddy photos? Perhaps you’ve actually experienced this firsthand. Hiring a professional photographer can take your wedding scene from “pretty” to “jaw-dropping.”

And an editor can take your good book and turn it into a masterpiece. Just as in hiring a skilled photographer, contracting with a knowledgeable editor is an investment. You’re paying someone to help make your book the best that it can be.
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