• Shani Mixon, Author

If your manuscript could speak: For the love of humanity get an editor.

When I wrote my first book in 2015, I was beyond ecstatic. I mean, who wouldn’t be? It was the book I'd been writing for nearly three years. I was in undeniable word love with a 70,000 plus character manuscript. It was finally finished. I sent it to my self-publishing company and I anxiously awaited a shower of praises along with an anticipated phone call to fly me to book Hollywood. (Writers with even a little experience insert your giggle here with a heavenward eyeroll) I know. I was naïve, but I was aiming for the moon. Even if I missed, I would still be amongst the stars. Well, actually, I found myself with my head in the clouds and that was temporarily satisfying.

Please don’t get me wrong. My publisher was happy. I was told it was a great story, but being a novice, I didn’t understand her next recommendation. That was, “You need an editor to do a copyedit.” I was insulted. I thought once I sent my work that it was done, finito, completo, fini! I was so irritated, that I set out to go on a mission to find my own editor. I was convinced that my selected editor would agree that my work was of ultimate perfection. (I am so embarrassed to even write this. Oh well, let's carry on with this harsh truth)

The lady that I used was an accomplished author and editor. I told her my story. She listened. I sent her my book baby. She read it. Her response was classic. She said, “This is really good story, but what makes you think you don’t need an editor. Even after all these years, and all the books I've written, even I need an editor. You need an editor!”

I was a deer in headlights, but I managed to say, “Okay”. She edited my manuscript, gave much needed feedback and I made changes.

What does it all mean? Every writer needs an accomplished trained eye to help take her work from good to great. Feedback changes lives. Studies show that when students receive quality, on time feedback from their teachers, improvement and levels of understanding increase. The same rule applies here. Writing is rewarding and it is also a life long learning experience. (Quote me on that!)

True story: After I completed my third book, I received a phone call from a lady eager to publish her manuscript. She wanted to meet with me to discuss a book she’d been writing for years. We met and chatted a bit. A part of the conversation went something like this:

Me: Do you have a publisher in mind?

Her: Well, I am going to have a family member bind my books.

Me: Oh. Okay. Do you have an editor?

Her: I don’t need an editor. My work is good to go. I might have a friend look over it.

Me: Oh, it really important to get an editor.

Her: No, it’s not. I'm good.

I knew that this was a dead conversation, but I always wondered what happened to her book. Was it ever published? Was it edited? Was her manuscript a success? I was partially her once.

In my newest book, Dipsuchos, I used Rooted in Writing as my editor. Let me tell you, they are

amazing. I’ll give you the quick version, because, truthfully, I could sing their praises for days. I emailed Amber from Rooted in Writing. She set up a phone appointment with me to discuss my needs and to get a bit of background about my manuscript. She was professional, thoughtful, attentive, and pleasant. Soon, after our conversation and agreement, I was set up withan author’s portal. This, honestly, was icing on the cake. The Rooted in Writing Author’s Portal is like a one stop shop for your literary editing needs. I could view my contract, order, progress, payments, uploads, communication, and so on and so forth. It was personalized just for me and I needed my very own password to access it. Rooted in Writing was on time with their deliveries and gave honest clear feedback which I was able to easily follow. Yes, I will be using them again.

What does this all mean? If you are an experienced writer, you already know what it means. If you’re a novice, know that you need a professional editor. Feedback is okay. It will only make you better. An editor will save your words’ life: For the love of humanity get one.

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