Book Editing: Give yourself the Best Chance
There’s more to book-writing than just sitting down and writing a few thousand words. First, you must master the craft of book editing before showing it to readers or publishers—a detailed guide to polishing your manuscript to perfection through rewrites, edits, and revisions. Every author must do this part of the editing process independently, even if they plan to work with professional editors.
The only way to stand out from the crowd is to submit a manuscript that is as good as it gets. Traditional publishing houses do employ their very own staff of editors and proofreaders. But your manuscript will need to be significantly better than nearly a thousand other submissions to get that far.
And if you’re going the self-publishing route, make your manuscript stands out by editing it as much as possible until it’s perfect in every way and you’re proud of every word.
Read your manuscript
In preparation for editing your book, it’s a good idea to read it cover to cover.
As time goes on, our eyes get used to reading our own writing and tend to overlook minor errors. When reading aloud, mistakes, confusing dialogue, words your spellchecker deemed acceptable, and highly lengthy, run-on sentences that never seem to end stand out. The tone of your writing is an integral part of your identity. It’s a good idea to hear how the words sound when read aloud.
Understand your book structure
While there are no limits to where a book’s plot can go, there are to how it’s structured. Adopting a story structure to help plot your narrative makes the daunting task of writing a novel feel much more tolerable.
While the fear of creating a formulaic, predictable story may discourage you from using a preexisting blueprint, most of your favourite books can be broken down into specific narrative structures that authors have used for decades.
Eliminate sentence-level mistakes
In the process of going from the first to the second draft version, you will likely make significant changes to the text, such as removing or adding characters, changing the order of events, and rearranging or omitting sections of the story.
Here, you focus on the specifics, ensuring that each sentence adds value to the story and that no awkward phrases or words take attention away. Keep from over-explaining; this is a common flaw that can show up in different parts of the story.
Look for trouble words
There are always going to be certain words and phrases that make a writer wonder if they’re applying them correctly. Good example: knowing when to use there vs. their or your vs. you’re. You can utilise the search feature of your word processor to find every possible variation of the words or phrases that are giving you trouble.
Replace crutch words
There are always certain phrases and words that come easily to an author. It’s easy to overuse these words and phrases during the lengthy drafting, revising, and editing.
Certain “crutch” words or phrases, especially those that aren’t particularly noteworthy, can be used multiple times without drawing too much attention to themselves. Readers will begin to notice after a while.
In most cases, all that needs to be done is to replace the word or phrase with another, or it can be rewritten differently. The difficult part is identifying the overused words.
Edit your book in sections
It can be helpful to divide a lengthy book into smaller sections if you’re starting. Editing a book helps to break it into smaller sections so you can focus on each section individually. This is the point at which you will become aware of any confusion or errors.
If you prefer, your novel can be edited in chapters, but remember that you won’t want to skim them. Choosing larger sections can help you determine if the book flows smoothly from chapter to chapter. You can decide to make changes individually to chapters if you like. Create scenes that serve a specific narrative function, whether advancing the plot, raising the stakes, or developing the characters. Scene by scene, you can go through the dialogue and cut out any filler. It’s essential to have a captivating first scene and a satisfying ending that wraps up all the threads. Ensure the flow holds together and that all the parts you edited separately make sense.
Hire a professional editor
Depending on their knowledge and experience, a professional book editor can provide you with a wide range of Book editing services. Either developmental editing or copyediting or both may be necessary for your manuscript. A copy editor will correct your text’s mechanics, such as spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. A story that flows smoothly has been edited by a developmental editor who has gone through the overall structure and narrative arcs.
Even if you plan to self-publish your book, you still need to hire an editor to ensure a quality book. This is because, no matter what, you will always be too close to your work to edit it clearly and accurately. We sometimes need an outsider’s viewpoint more than ever to help us see our own mistakes and correct them.