I recently listened to old podcast interviews I did for the Fire On Your Head podcast, and there was one that I thought “wow, I didn’t remember how amazing this particular conversation was”.
Then I remembered what a MESS it was before I had edited the audio.
You see, a publisher had sent me a few guests to interview so they could promote their latest books. When I edited the recording (back when I used to still do all the things myself) for this particular guest, it drove me NUTS!
I know many podcasters who leave interviews “as is”, but after taking Steve Stewart’s podcast editing course several years ago before I pivoted completely into books, I couldn’t NOT edit my interviews to a high standard. He taught that you ALWAYS enhance and elevate the speakers and remove/edit whatever hinders that.
So in my own podcasts, I would now get rid of a LOT of “ums”, “uhs”, crutch words, and so forth. This particular guest repeatedly would start a thought, then backtrack and go in a different direction, and I’d realize in post production that to help it flow I needed to get rid of all those restarts and help them stay on point.
Anyway, I removed all the stuttering and restarting with the goal of helping ENHANCE the guest’s thoughts, not to censor or get rid of anything they said.
The published interview was around an hour or so long….
AFTER I had enhanced (edited) it.
Before I had published it, I shaved off 16 MINUTES of starts and stops, crutch words, and other filler.
That’s a lot of material! But listeners would never have any clue the guest was a rambler because of my ninja editing skills that I’ve largely retired from and now work with Jeremy Munns for in my audiobook editing and mastering and Bryan Entzminger for other coaching and consulting related to audio production as it comes up.
In Writing, Editing is More Than Proofreading For Typos and Errors
Over the years I’ve confused a lot of people into thinking I’m an editor and I hear from people all the time “Steve, when I’m done writing my book and looking for an editor I’ll hit you up.”
I’m not an editor, but a publisher and writing coach. What’s the difference?
You see, very often I re-write a client’s manuscript (depending on what they’re hiring me for or request help with), because, well, you’ll see in a minute if you keep reading. And then I after I’ve done that, I hand the work to someone else yet still (most often, Lisa Thompson).
You may call such persons an “editor” I suppose.
But an editor is NOT just a glorified proofreader who catches mistakes and typos in someone’s writing. Rather, I always refer to them as writing ENHANCERS.
Your retired aunt who was an English teacher for 30 years MAY do a good job proofreading your manuscript for you, but it doesn’t [necessarily] mean she knows how to enhance your writing for the market.
When A Manuscript Needs Enhancing
I once started reading a Kindle book I came across and I KNEW this was good stuff and could impact a lot of readers…
…but I could also tell it had not been properly edited.
I didn’t catch any typos or anything, but it had a lot of fluff and took forever to make his points.
It needed ENHANCING.
I messaged him and had a conversation with him privately, and he was humble and open to my suggestions, so I recommended Lisa to him, and they worked together and re-released his book a few months later in much better shape.
She helped him bring his overall word count down from 60K words to about 48K, and when I read it, I could barely tell what was different except I had remembered the things that made me reach out to him had clearly been addressed.
You may be worried you “don’t have enough content” for your book, which may be true, but that’s usually not the case.
If anything, I encounter a lot of Christian authors who have TOO MUCH material and need help trimming the fat and getting to the point (conciseness).
Many, especially first-time authors and ESPECIALLY Christians or people have experience in the clergy and preaching, believe they’re transcribing fresh revelation the Lord gave them and that to cut it down or take anything away from it would be violating a heavenly command or tarnishing the work.
The message you’re writing might be annointed but an anointing for communication doesn’t automatically mean your words are going to be understood the way you wanted.
Writing and Preaching are DIFFERENT Modes of Communication
When you’re writing, you don’t need to repeat yourself repeatedly like in-person where people need help paying attention in a sermon or at a conference.
People can turn the page back and re-read your words. They don’t need you to say the same thing 4 or 5 times.
When I first started working with Kingdom authors in assisting them with self-publishing their books, I had a few complain when I gave their manuscript back to them after Lisa had done her magic and they were irked at paying for editing because they “couldn’t tell what we did with it”.
So, Lisa graciously sent me a Word version with “track changes” turned on in showing how it looked before she worked on it and what she did. Then I showed these clients the difference and it humbled them (at least I hope it did) and they never complained again.
But that’s beside the point I want to make.
A GREAT editor takes your good writing and helps you say it even more goodlier.
No, that’s not it. Lisa tells me I should say:
“A great editor helps you figure out exactly what you want to say. But even better.”
If you need help with taking your writing, especially a manuscript and saying it much better than you currently are before you put it to market, hit me up.
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