Monday, December 10, 2012

Editing Your Own Book

A lot has been said about editing, about the importance of finding a professional editor, especially if you're self-publishing your book. And while I'm in favor of making your book the best it can be, it's not always practical, for financial reasons, to get your book edited by a professional.

Though I am in business to help other writers edit their work, not everyone has the cash to spend on editing, and this is something that I understand--being a poor writer myself. Writers don't typically have extra money for such a venture, but they want to make their work the best it can be. If this is the case with you, this is what I recommend.
  • Set your book aside after you finish the first draft for at least two weeks or longer. When you go back to it you'll see changes that must be made that you won't see the day after the first draft is finished.
  • Read your book aloud. When you stumble over a sentence, or are confused by something you read, stop and fix it. Our ears hear things that our minds miss.
  • Photo by Nic's events, courtesy of Flickr
  • Read your book silently. Make corrections directly on a paper copy instead of directly on your computer. You'll see more errors.
  • Get some friends and writers to read your work. You'll need at least five. Get people that you know that will give you an honest opinion of your work. Give your readers at least two weeks to read your work and meet with them personally to find out what they discovered.
  • Be careful about what you change
    Photo by: Nick Harris1, courtesy of Flickr
  • Make additional corrections and allow your manuscript to sit for a couple more weeks. Make sure you listen to your heart. Not everything a reader will say will need to be changed but pay special attention to those things that are mentioned more than once.
Editing your book is kind of like preparing to go on vacation (writing your book) and then realizing that in some respects, the planning was more fun than experiencing it (editing your book). Prepare for your next edit by remembering that even the best writers need to edit and rarely come up with something worth sharing on their first draft.
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