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At the start of Christmas week I got my manuscript proof back from the publisher having had its initial professional edit.

At first glance it looked as if my editor had practically re-written the manuscript; there seemed to be multiple track changes on every page. There was also a short note from the editor which assured me the changes were minimal and that she had loved my book. Naturally, I took that delightful note to be the ‘spoonful of sugar’ to my edits medicine.

However, as I began to scroll through the pages, I realised the vast majority were amendments to my chatty style, removing all the abbreviations from “it’s, we’re” etc. and replacing numerals with words. In a few places the editor had suggested a rearranging of sentences, and last but not least, there were a handful of corrections to mistakes I must have been completely blind to on every one of my innumerable self-edits.

As I worked my way through, accepting the vast majority of changes, I realised that what the editor was doing was enhancing the reader experience, making every sentence easy to read and comprehend.

At first I felt like my attempts at ‘good writing’ were being ‘dumbed down’ but then I realised the suggested changes were entirely appropriate for the style of book I have written.

This is no War & Peace and I am no Tolstoy.

I worked my way through the edits, made a few small amendments to the text myself, and fired it back to the publisher in between Christmas and New Year.

At this stage in the process, I already feel I have had a worthwhile return on my investment.

There is no doubt in my mind that the editor has improved the readability of the manuscript in a way I would never have done myself.

There is no substitute for fresh eyes when it comes to editing text and if those eyes belong to a professional editor, all that knowledge and experience is brought to your manuscript.

So far, so good. I’m feeling better about my manuscript and about the whole process.

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