Is Editing Software As Good As A Human Editor?

I’ve received several emails over time asking if I think a human editor is better than using editing software or vice versa. Although I’ve addressed this in the past, I think it’s necessary to make it clear that I think that software can never replace a human editor.

Step 1: Use Editing Software

By using editing software first one can reduce the costs incurred with a human editor. Software can highlight recurring problems and catch silly mistakes one can easily correct, thus giving a human editor the opportunity of pointing out the kinks only human eyes can catch. Because there are presumably fewer minor errors to correct after having run the work through software, the amount of time spent on the project by the human editor should be less and should reduce the cost of having a human edit the manuscript. This is why I strongly recommend using software in the editing process, not as a replacement to human editing, but as an additional step toward the best manuscript possible.

I’ve reviewed several editing software, both paid and free, in the post Paid and Free Editing Software For ManuscriptsI personally use both SmartEdit and Pro Writing Aid Editing Tool.*

Step 2: Find A Good Editor

A good editor can be difficult to find, so it’s important to ask around. Try to find out how long the person has been professionally editing and how long their turn around is. A fast turn around isn’t necessarily a good thing. The best editors often have long waiting lists, so plan accordingly. A good place to begin shopping for a qualified editor is

Step 2 (for those with a Zero budget): Substitutes For A Professional Editor

For those who cannot, as yet, afford a qualified human editor, I suggest several rounds with at least two different, good software programs and as many beta readers as possible before hitting that publish button. English teachers and other authors make the best beta readers, but don’t discount the “Regular Joe.” They can point out places the story falls apart, gets confusing or just gets boring.

Step 3: Publish (Almost)

There’s a bit more than just editing a manuscript to make it ready for publishing, but that’s a subject for another time. The important thing, as far as editing goes, is that it gets done and done to the best of your budget and ability. There is no excuse for skipping this step.


What other ways do you get the editing job done?


*While I am a Pro Writing Aid affiliate and these are affiliate links, this in no way changes how I feel about the software. I personally used both SmartEdit, which I am not affiliated with, and Pro Writing Aid Editing Tool prior to becoming an affiliate and will continue to use both in the future. I fully endorse all the programs on this post because I believe in their merit as writing tools for better writing.


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