For all those who believe they do not need help with your writing, I present Tim Park’s argument for what an editor can do for you:
The editor’s job then becomes one of helping the writer to see where an unessential, perhaps unconscious departure from the norm is actually draining energy away from places where the text is excitingly unconventional. That is, the editor reminds an author that to construct a coherent identity he has to remember his relationship with society and with the language we share and cannot express ourselves without. To go out on a limb linguistically, accepting no compromise and creating an idiolect that really is entirely your own, may win awed admiration, as did Finnegans Wake, but will likely not attract many readers, and arguably does not allow for the communication of nuance, since all the ordinary reader will understand is that you are indeed off on a trip on your own…
In Praise of the Language Police by Tim Parks | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.
Just remember: editors matter
Rogue self-publishers have been stuffing the comics sections of the Nook and Kindle online stores with an entirely different kind of graphic novel, turning Barnes & Noble’s flagship device briefly into a “Nookie Tablet.”
It’s a rule of the Internet. Stop editing and moderating, just for a minute, and everything will turn to porn and spam. That seems to have happened on the Nook, and, to a lesser extent, the Kindle.
Self-publishing has turned bookstore shelves from “seller cares” to “buyer beware,” with apparently no guarantees of quality or even that the content is what it says it is. With Barnes & Noble and Amazon apparently abdicating any preemptive editorial control, it’s now a free-for-all online.
Self-Publishers Stuff Nook, Kindle Comics Stores With Porn | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.
Don Paterson, an editor and a poet, claim[s] that “A non-poet can’t do a line-edit on a poem”; it is essential for an editor to be a poet, too.
Michael Schmidt, the editor of Carcanet Press and PN Review, added that the job can be tricky when grappling with the work of someone from a different culture. “If you’re publishing a Zimbabwean poet or a poet from India or New Zealand, they’ll speak a language different from your own,” he said, adding, “This is an issue between genders as well.”
Both these points are slightly disquieting. If only poets can edit the work of another, does that mean that only poets fully comprehend the work?
Contemporary poetry: Do you have to be a poet to edit poetry? | The Economist.