All authors and freelance writers do it. Some people get paid to do it. And without it, you are risking the big Râ€”Rejection. What is it? Editing.
Iâ€™ve found over the years that editing is a process. When I edit my own work, especially a book manuscript, I go over it many, many times with different things in mind. Thereâ€™s the editing work that occurs throughout the course of read-throughs and after making additions or changes. You edit again when something jumps out at you during a random glance. You read your work over and over and over again. And then you get down to the nitty gritty editing work.
I read my manuscripts with content in mindâ€”does it make sense, does it flow, do the transitions work well, are my explanations clear, is the material pertinent, have I left anything out, are there areas where I have over-explained, what about organization?
Edit out extra wordsâ€”in other words, tighten your work and then tighten it some more. Reconsider using qualifier words such as, â€œvery.â€ Watch for overused words and phrases. I had to eliminate â€œof courseâ€ numerous times in my final edit of The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. Recently, I edited out numerous introductory phrases from a clientâ€™s book manuscript. He started nearly every paragraph with, â€œAs a matter of fact,â€ â€œActually,â€ â€œAs far as I knew,â€ â€œThat said,â€ â€œNow,â€ â€œYet,â€ â€œTherefore,â€ â€œInterestingly,â€ etc.
I read a manuscript for accuracy. I check facts and statistics and make sure the attributions are in place and correct. Do the chapter titles and headings correspond with the table of contents? Do the fonts for chapter titles and headings, etc. conform in size and style throughout? Have I used the right words in the right places? Spellcheck will not alert you to wrong words when they are spelled correctly. For example, you might intend using â€œcarpâ€ and it is spelled, â€œcrap,â€ â€œhaveâ€ instead of â€œhas,â€ â€œbedâ€ instead of â€œbad.â€ It takes an alert mind and a good eye to discover mistakes like these.
I read the manuscript from a grammatical and punctuation point of view. Are my sentences varied, are they grammatically correct, have I used one space only after all punctuation, have I caught all of the redundancies and incorrect uses of words.
And finally, I read my manuscript to make sure it speaks to even someone from Mars. I try to assume that someone reading The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book or The Mainland Luau or Creative Grandparenting, has had no experience in these topics. I try to explain everything from the beginner point of view so that Iâ€™m assured that no one reading this book will be left behind.
Folks, this major editing work is your job. Your next step is to hire an editor to fine tune your manuscript. The more thorough your editing job, the more an editor can do for you. And it may take more than one go-through. While some of my clients have such clean manuscripts that it takes just one session of editing, most require my services twice.
Hereâ€™s how I work: I donâ€™t make unauthorized changes to your manuscript. I offer suggestions in red type and I often explain why I recommend the change. I teach as I edit and this seems to serve my clients well. Once the client makes the changes he or she wants based on my recommendations, I like to go through the manuscript one last time and this is when we fine tune the work.
Editing is not a once-over job that you rush through in order to meet a deadline. It is a process that can take time and should. Turn out your best work, look at it several times with your clearest editorial eye and then hand it over to an editor, who is accustomed to editing book manuscripts, for a final polishing.
http://www.matilijapress.com/consulting.html to learn more about my editorial services.