How to self-edit your book before you send it off to a professional editor
What to do before sending your manuscript to an editor:
- Put your manuscript in a draw for a few months before you edit it. You are more likely to see the bigger problems with story lines, sub plots and characters because they aren’t living in your head anymore.
- Join a writing group or make friends with other helpful writers who can offer valuable feedback. This is how you can get beta readers. Take on board the comments that are only valid and constructive to your work. They understand the process so they will be able to share their experiences and knowledge.
- Read books about writing. Learn about structure, grammar, characterization. Read your favourite writers and try to pick out the tricks they have used to create the desired affects. The more you learn the more you see the loose ends in your own work.
- Print your manuscript, two pages to a single page so that it looks like a paperback layout. All the errors hidden on screen will start to pop out.
- Go through your manuscript backwards, line by line, so that you don’t get involved in the story.
- Follow a process like Jody Hedlund uses for her self-editing which includes the rewrites all the way down to line editing.
Self-Publishers are business owners and you must view your publication as a major project. You are providing a product to a well-established, competitive market and you want to give your product its best chance.
Releasing a book that is sub-par on editing is detrimental not only to you, but you are contributing to that bad reputation the industry gets.All businesses work on a budget. View editing as an investment to save toward. If you have a very small budget try to make friends with editors through your writing group network, maybe barter services with them or ask if they will consider a payment plan but do not DIY your editing. You cannot hope to get it to the standard it needs to be because you’re too close and too biased towards your project. Let the baby go.
A lot of the criticism towards indie writers is because of poorly edited work sloshing about the market. Too many authors move forward with publishing without considering what damage it does to their co-authors, to their friends who write and want to self-publish, to every other book out there.
Releasing a book that is sub-par on editing is detrimental not only to you, but you are contributing to that bad reputation the industry gets.