I just became aware* of an interesting post that went up a few months ago on The Digital Reader. It asks a very intriguing question: Should editors certify that an ebook has been edited?
I really like the idea of a shiny burst stamped onto the cover of each ebook, similar to the old classic Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval (still going strong!) or the mark of the Comics Code Authority (which has faded away in the last few years). But honestly, there are a million reasons why it wouldn’t work: lack of standardization among editors, absence of a certifying body, never knowing whether a seal was earned or rubber-stamped, the difficulty of assessing the value of line editing versus development work, and so on.
A “seal of good editing” would be more or less meaningless, and the reading public would recognize it as such before too long. The best way to make your book appeal to potential readers is to make it readable, which usually means hiring a good editor and listening to his or her suggestions.
But it’s still fun to imagine an editor, red pen in one holster and a branding iron in the other, riding from town to virtual town, cleaning up the
lawless publishing frontier one bad sentence at a time, burning his or her seal into the trail of pages left behind.
* Thanks, Steven Schend!