Every author is excited when they complete their first manuscript, after all, there’s been countless hours, days, weeks, months and even years that have gone into its creation, but once the excitement wanes a little, every author then needs to go back and start the process of polishing (and in some cases, being courageous when doing so).
One small step at a time.
The first read through and edit you can certainly do yourself, but don’t try to take on more that one chapter at a time, editing your own book (when done by yourself) should be done in small chunks, if you try to persevere with editing huge sections at a time, you’ll miss elements that should be adjusted and cut corners through fatigue.
Re-read and re-edit
Once you have made edits to the book, go back and re-read what you’ve just edited, and allow time between completing the edit and then reviewing it (publishing a great book is not a sprint to the finishing line, take time, your readers deserve it).
Grammar, more grammar and spelling
This is of course the first thing that every self-editing author looks for, there are software applications like Grammarly and the inbuilt software within Word that will help with fixing those obvious elements that you may have missed the first time around, reading the manuscript again will always help find them.
Does it make sense?
Question what you have read and ask yourself if it makes sense, also, does it actually add something to the book itself (or is it just unnecessary ‘padding’?). How believable are your characters? Will they connect to your readers? What about sentence structure? Is your book made up of lots of very small paragraphs or huge blocks of text? How does it read? Look for crutch words or phrases, these often repeat themselves throughout your manuscript and become annoying to the reader, it’s wise to replace them (time to break open the Thesaurus).
Get it read
Once you have edited your own book, it is highly recommended that you get someone to read it for you, and use someone whose judgement you trust, you want someone who won’t tell you what you want to hear, but give constructive feedback. Most people have friends or know other writers who would be willing to help, you may have to return the favor (but even this is a great learning curve for you too).
Add if you’re still not sure
Once you’ve edited your manuscript as much as you can, it’s time to go to a professional editor. A good editor will be able to tweak your book from something good to something great, their insight and experience is invaluable to you and your book, a professionally well edited book will give your book a great chance of success.
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