Impact of editing and proofreading before publication

In recent times, the digitized consumerism has contributed significantly to collapse the traditional boundary of communication. Thus, necessitates a dynamic global communication model to address diversified readers by understanding their paramount needs. With the advent of e-technology, many exciting changes are taking place, where people are frequently using e-mail, SMS for their day-to-day communications. The use of abbreviated language is now widely accepted, which has compromised and diminished the importance and role of good writing skills. It needs conscious and persistent effort to develop good writing skill. But only a good piece of write-up is not all. It requires a thorough editing to improve its readability and making it lively, appealing and more comprehensive to generate readers  interest. The success of a professional writer depends to a large extent on how clearly and effectively the writer is able to convey the message to its readers. The growth of web communications and the uniqueness of digital publishing industries have arguably increased the collaboration between writers, editors and publishers. In this context, editing has suddenly gained a large importance and has become a crucial part in writing and publication process, often influencing the acceptance or rejection of a manuscript.

Here the question that arises is -why a manuscript needs editing before publication? Are the writers not apt to polish their own creation? Some quotes favor editing service, leaving the rest that stigmatizes editing as sheer incompetency. Let us discuss about the importance of editing and proof reading and why publishing houses put much emphasis on it.

For a good publication, editing and proofreading play an important role. Editing is necessary because clear and incisive communication is the key to successful publishing and advertising, polishing the writing and improving presentation. The quality and clarity of writing also depend on the experience of the writer. A beginner in writing often finds itself at sea, not knowing how to start, how to organize the main body of the story and what to conclude. The over enthusiastic writer will try to write every details, leaving nothing for the readers’ imagination. On the other hand, a conservative writer may omit vital information, assuming that the readers are already aware of it. Ideally, a good writing needs to strike a delicate balance of the above aspects. It’s in this context that editing helps a great deal. When we talk about e-messaging, we often tend to ignore spelling errors, improper punctuation and faulty grammar; but there is no room for any mistake in documents intended for publication in print or in electronic media. A mere typographical error in these documents is considered as serious mistake, which can ruin the writer’s credibility. A writer meticulously reviews his work to ensure that the written product is devoid of common errors and stylistic gaffes. He might review with utmost care, emulating own code of editing ethics. But it is a proven fact that self regulatory editing is not adequate and it does not guarantee complete elimination of all the errors. The writer fails to notice the errors because he tends to overlook and sees what he intends to write, but not what is written on the manuscript. The writers lax of grammar and vocabulary does not go down well either with the reader or the publisher. Sloppy sentences, surface errors, misused punctuation, wordiness, and faulty use of tenses all these can undermine the effectiveness of writing. At times, even though we know the correct spelling, we tend to write with transposed letters, which could result in writing something very different from what we set out to write. It can also change the meaning of the sentence or completely disrupt the smooth flow of the article. One wrong word can completely change the intent of the author. This may distract the reader considerably, diminishing the effectiveness of the writing. It never feels good to a reader to come across a writing which is full of errors. It generally gives the reader a feeling of disgust. When it happens, the writer can lose that reader forever. It’s a fact that no writer can be completely objective about his/ her own work.

A writer gets so engrossed in his creation that he misses grammatical and spelling errors very often. Most mistakes go unnoticed simply because of the lack of his expertise to catch them. A simple error can be very embarrassing if not checked before publication. It is more expensive to correct the mistake present in an already published article than to get it correct in the first place. If the document is printed with mistakes in it, then the writer may have to write and publish a corrigendum or addendum in the future editions of the publication. Therefore, it is wise for the writer to seek the help of professional editors and proofreaders to improve clarity, coherency, logical sequence, proper style and structure of the manuscript before submitting it for publication. This helps because it prevents the dissemination of irrelevant findings, unwarranted claims, unacceptable interpretations, and personal biases. Moreover, editing and proofreading ensures an unbiased third-party perspective, which is a difficult domain for any writer.

Many writers often fail to distinguish between editing and proofreading, believing both as synonyms. Editing and proofreading are an integral part of writing process with different functions. Editing is the process of correction, condensation, organization, presentation of content, consistency and removal of unnecessary redundancies, jargons, unsightly adverbs and passive sentences related to the use of language to improve readability in general or adherence to a specific style guide. Proofreading, on the other hand, ensures that the final written document is free of grammatical errors, spelling errors, typos, ambiguous vocabulary and other inconsistencies. Therefore, to communicate successfully in today’s competitive environment, proofreading and editing are indispensable component of a publishing process to make that first impression on the reader.
In electronic drafts, for example in manuscripts prepared in Microsoft Word, the changes in grammar and spelling can be automatically checked and corrected. But there is no substitute for a human editor who doesn’t just slash at your script willy-nilly, but suggest structural changes too to improve readability. A human editor will perform the editing in the context of the subject matter with the right tone and circumstance. He can query the writer on a potential change or ask about the logic behind a particular style of writing. These suggestions will help in fine tuning the writing and improve the entire structure of the manuscript. Professional editors know how to pay attention to minute details of the manuscript. They have an understanding of the whims and caprices of publishing world and know how to help your manuscript become more publishable. They will guide and suggest the writer for improving the manuscript instead of worrying about why the writing was not up to mark.

Authors and researchers often face difficulties to detect mistakes in their research manuscripts as they used to update their draft frequently. If the writing is meant for grant-funding or publication in a scholarly journal, it necessitates opportunity for improvement. A novel and substantial subject always attracts more publishers. A professional editor with his special expertise and fresh eye can eliminate the loopholes, thereby increases the possibility of publication in intended journals.

Presently the publishing market has become extremely competitive and trendy. Moreover, as most of the publishers have shifted towards electronic manuscript processing system, editing process has become increasingly paperless. For commercial reasons, and to keep pace with competition, publishers are keen on accepting and publishing maximum number of articles. They seek high quality editing of manuscripts to retain their credibility and reputation in the market. The industry spends a large share of its revenue for good editing. Publication of an unedited or improperly edited manuscript adversely affects the credibility of the author as well as the journal. Therefore, it is extremely important to publish manuscripts that have already undergone several rounds of editing.

There is a more subtle infringement of editorial independence caused by the commercial interests of the publishers. Publishing houses sometimes adopt several editorial policies aimed not only for improving the quality of published work, but also for increasing its impact factor, circulation and readership. Authors generally tend to cite articles from journals with high impact factors. Therefore, high standard editing not only improves the quality of content but significantly increases the journal’s ranking and impact factors. It also increases its circulation, enhances reputation and identity of the journal. The role of the editor is to constantly infuse the magazine with dynamism that keep the readers stimulated. Journals with original articles are the obvious choice of every reader.

Editing maximizes the accuracy and impact of written documents to enhance the publication and fund-raising efforts. The degree of editing plays a large role in developing reader comfort. So the manuscript should be clear and concise. Worse may happen if unhappy readers or publishers express negative opinion about an author’s work. Some may never read from that publication or writer again, especially in the field of literature like fictions, poems etc. An expert editor knows exactly where to pay attention during editing to minimize the errors present in the manuscript. Therefore, it is wise for writers and publishers alike to take the help of professional editors and proofreaders before publishing the document.
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