Guy Kawasaki Agrees – Get An Editor

You want to know why you should hire me to edit and proof your work? Guy Kawasaki found about 28,000 reasons why while writing his latest book, A.P.E.

cuties here are cold...


Let me explain.

Cover to Guy Kawasaki's A.P.E. I’m writing this while I listen to Kawasaki do a Q&A after his efficient, Macintosh-way, 10-slide webinar on self-publishing. Or as he calls it, artisanal publishing, because self-publishing suggests that no one else wanted your work – which isn’t always true. Publishing today is where the music industry was ten years ago – a lot of authors today self-publish not because they can’t get picked up, but because technology no longer limits them to waiting on a meeting or an overworked editor’s slush pile. And as it turns out, all readers aren’t snobs. In fact, they’re discerning and avid consumers who will judge a book quick and hard by the first few words. Thank you Amazon for your “search inside this book” feature! This is precisely why the vast majority of books, traditionally published or otherwise, do not make a ton of money.

But back to editing.

Kawasaki crowdsourced and sent out his manuscript to several friends, and then some, to get feedback, additional sets of eyes, etc. I forget the exact number but it was definitely in the high double digits. 70 maybe? Anyway, after all those eyes, he sent the thing off to a professional copy-editor, expecting that it would be the cleanest, easiest manuscript she’d have ever seen. Correct? Cowrong! She said it had a whopping 28K errors. Okay, so some of it was MS-Word things that weren’t exactly human errors. So she scaled it down. That still left a good 20K errors.

typo on Ikea sign

Because spell check doesn’t pick out everything. That’s why.


All those eyes, all those read-throughs. And still all those errors? Well yes. Because you need one, experienced, picky pair of eyes that can unify your work for form, format, style, and most important – voice. Especially if you have more than one primary author. This is what copy-editors and proofers have always done in the publishing industry. And in this one case, the industry’s decline has nothing to do with disappearance of work or skills – no more than the music industry’s contraction had anything to do with the lack of talent or skill!

Quite simply, you publish your own works, but you cannot be your own publishing industry. And you can’t be your own editor. Yes, it hurts to shell out the money if you’re on a budget, but as Kawasaki puts it:

If you had to cut everything, cut copy editing last.

I could not agree more. So if you have words on a page that need help, drop me a line. And if the words have anything to do with foreign affairs, military strategy, South Asia, the Middle East, the non-profit world, communications, travel, music, biographies, or romantic fiction, so much the better!