Dec 06

Should You Edit Your Professional Edit?

Watch out for unprofessional editors with self-publishing services.

Once I ghostwrite a children’s story, I edit and proof it.

If I don’t have enough time to let the story sit for a while, I’ll send it out for proofing. Or if it’s a middle grade or young adult and I’ve been working on it for a long time and am too close to it, I may have someone else take a look at it.

But usually, I’m able to edit and proof the manuscript myself. Then I give it to my client.

At this point, it’s ready to move on to publication or submissions.

So, what can go wrong after that?

It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while, I’ll get a client who decides to edit the manuscript I’ve handed over.

This comes about in one of two ways:

1. The client, for whatever reason, takes it upon himself to add text, possibly to boost the word count. When the author doesn’t know how to write, it becomes an issue.

To give you an idea of what I mean, here are a few examples of added dialogue:

“Hey,” said Joe”, want to go for a swim?”

“Sure Pete, said Jane, how about if I go with you?”

“I’m working” said Justin.

“That’s what it’s for”, said his brother.

Hi, my name is Philip” she said.

I changed the text, but the punctuation is how it was. The errors aren’t even consistent. And the author changed some of my dialogue punctuation.

If I remember correctly, these kind of changes have only happened with male clients. That’s food for thought. LOL

2. The client uses a self-publishing service to get their book published and the service tells them they MUST have their manuscript edited first.

This has happened with both male and female clients of mine.

So, should you edit a professionally edited story?

Well, if the edit brings about an improvement, that’s great, go for it. Although, I haven’t seen this happen yet.

But if the client doesn’t know how to write, or the self-publishing company hires less than professional editors, that’s another story.

If you’re wondering how I know that a client edited a story I already edited, it’s simple. They end up coming back to me to re-edit what they’ve done or had done. (Click to tweet!)

It’s a shame.

They paid me to rewrite or ghostwrite a story and edit it.

Then, if they used a service, they paid the service to edit the story.

Then … when they come back to me, they pay me again to have the story re-edited.

I’ve seen manuscripts come back that have been edited by someone who clearly doesn’t speak English or doesn’t know how to write for children.

And, what I always find surprising is that I explain everything that comes up to my clients. And, I let them know that most self-publishing services can’t afford to hire professional editors.

But it doesn’t seem to register.

Again, it doesn’t happen often, but it’s frustrating when it does.

A perfect example is a return client I’m currently working with. It’s a middle grade story that was originally a rewrite/ghost project about a year ago. Originally, I explained:

  • There shouldn’t be more than one POV in a chapter.
  • One POV in a middle grade book is optimal, but two could work if necessary, and if it’s done properly.
  • The chapter length needs to be genre appropriate.

It seems the client had been shopping his story around and was told he needed a higher word count. He decided to add another 10,000 words himself.

The manuscript came back with the chapters broken down to 300 words, 600 words, 1800 words, and so on. There were over 50 chapters in a 42,000-word middle grade draft.

Along with this, there were multiple POVs within chapters, including the POVs of secondary characters. And a third POV was thrown in as a kind of overseer of the story.

The interesting thing is that after I went through the story once after he gave it back to me, I fixed the chapter lengths and when I emailed it back to him, he asked if I’d change the chapters to what he had.

I’m easy-going and do everything I can to help my clients, but I had to explain, again, that it’s not a good idea to have a middle grade story with chapter lengths too short and varying so greatly.

I let him know that there are certain guidelines for writing for children and if you’re submitting to publishers, it’s especially important to adhere to them.

I’m giving this story a third edit, but I have a gut feeling that after I hand the finished manuscript over to my client, he’s going to change it again.

So, what’s the bottom line?

1, Unless you know how to write, you shouldn’t edit a professional edit.

With that said, everyone makes mistakes. If you have a question about the manuscript or are concerned about something, talk to the writer who wrote it or edited it.

2. If you’re told the manuscript needs to be beefed up and you don’t want to pay for ghostwriting, read the manuscript carefully. Pay attention to sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, paragraph lengths, and chapter lengths.

Read other traditionally published books in your genre.

Then when you’re done adding to your story, have it edited by a professional. The less the editor has to do, the less it will cost.

3. Be careful with self-publishing services. They want to sell you any service they can – that’s how they make money. And to make money, most of these services can’t afford to hire professional writers.

I hope this helps you in your writing journey.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.


Writing Perfection – Is There Such a Thing?

A Writer’s Number One Job

Picture Books – What Grabs an Editor?

Social media sharing