By Elizabeth M. Garrett

Editing, a Key Ingredient for Publishing Success

Months ago, I stood before a Christian writers group and read a devotional I’d written. I felt sure I had polished it to perfection. Before I had even begun to delve into the “meaty” part, I noticed an error. Ouch! I had included a scripture and had just read over a typo.

As writers, being familiar with what we’ve written can be a great detriment when producing a final product.

Have you ever written a manuscript, polished it, and felt it was ready for print, when you realize you gave a secondary character two different names? Or, maybe you spelled a proper noun three different ways. When you reviewed it, you knew what it was supposed to say, so you just read right over it.

Many writers I know feel called to write and publish. While they may have a real gift for the writing craft, they’re still not perfect. Content blended with quality writing plays a large role in whether or not a reader stays engaged until the end. A good editor can make the difference.

 Published works often take weeks, months, maybe even years to develop into a final piece. Producing a book with quite a few errors or weak writing would be a shame after putting so much time and energy into something.

 I’ve also known writers to spend lots of money for editing, only to have it re-edited due to so many errors. When searching for an editor, I encourage you to request a free sample edit and review credentials and references. Also, I suggest you interview people to see who would be a good fit.  Receiving constructive criticism of any kind isn’t easy, much less when it pertains to a project saturated in your blood, sweat, and tears.

Following are five things I recommend you look for in an editor:

  1. Someone who will suggest revisions, but will maintain your writing style.
  2. When suggesting a change, he or she will provide reasons.
  3. Someone who will challenge you in your writing and help you become a better writer.
  4. Someone whose goal is to strengthen and polish your work, not rewrite it.
  5. An encouraging person with candor, tact, and integrity.

In today’s crowded publishing marketplace, a quality product will go a long way in setting your manuscript apart. Having a good editor with whom you have a great working relationship can play a vital role in your publishing success.

Elizabeth M. Garrett serves as editor and sole proprietor of Polish Point Editing, a web-based business founded in 2016. With thirty years of professional editing and public relations experience, she recently wrote and produced a webinar, “Masterclass in Public Relations for Authors” available through Her creative works, both fiction and non-fiction, have been published by Bethany House, Guideposts, Southern Writers Magazine, and Christian writers groups. w