How important is good editing?

How important is good editing?

It’s very difficult to achieve 100% accuracy in writing, partly because people have different ideas of what is correct and what is not, which can make editing a challenge.

editingThe phenomenon of self-publishing means that many manuscripts reach publication without ever having been through any form of editing. The eBooks that you can buy from Kindle and elsewhere may never have passed under anyone else’s eyes except the author.

Some might consider this a raw expression of art. But judging by Amazon’s recent move – likely the result of increasingly disgruntled readers/customers – it looks as though the era of unedited content is coming to a close.

Amazon is taking a two-level approach. Firstly, it has started tagging poorly edited works with a yellow warning.

Then, if human readers or Amazon’s robots detect too many problems: whether typos, formatting problems or spelling errors, Amazon will suppress the work and remove it from its listings.

Spellcheckers can’t do all the editing for you

Running a spellchecker is important but it won’t do all the work for you. Typos that form other words, such as form/from or of/off, won’t show up. It also won’t show you grammatical typos, like leaving off the end of a word: the man sing (instead of the man sings), or pick up every misplaced apostrophe. Its and It’s are both correct in different contexts, but it usually takes a human eye to spot when they’re wrongly used.

We pride ourselves on the quality of text editing here at Sydney School of Arts & Humanities, offering a range of services from first draft editing to final proofing. Accuracy is something that authors need to take seriously if they’re dedicated to their work and want a career in writing. Investing in thorough editing is a key to success.


  1. Oscar Rose
    5 April, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I was a little worried at first on reading Amazons notes on editing especially Unsupported Characters, did I now need a back story for the waiter and the newsagent? On further reading it appears I had made an incorrect assumption, silly me.

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  2. Cathie Bloor
    6 April, 2016 at 6:30 am

    Well said, Chris. Interesting move on Amazon's part. I do find it irritating reading unedited work ... having read such works for many, many years ! The errors often take away from the emotional/overall/intellectual impact of a work. Having said that, I have found many instances of adolescent writing, especially knowing the writer in person, of quaint errors adding an endearing quality to the work.

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  3. Philip de Villiers
    21 July, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I guess its all about finding the right editor for your particular work and style of writing, especially it is region-specific, while simultaneously the editor needs to understand your target reader. I for example am writing a memoir in English which is my second language for an international audience but needs an editor who knows first-hand the milieu that I'm coming from, while needing a thorough understanding of writing for a global audience. Tricky!!

    Reply »

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