6 Tips on how to edit your manuscript: Susan Day

6 Tips on how to edit your manuscript: Susan Day, Papyrofix

All writers dread editing their work, but developing great editing skills is important. You want to present your work in the best way you can without mistakes. How else are you going to be taken seriously as an author?

Many writers believe if they are picked up by a publishing company they won’t have to worry about editing. This may have been true a long time ago, but it is not anymore. If you are considering submitting your manuscript to a publisher then you should ensure that it is edited well. They may not have the time or the money to hire a professional editor. A poorly edited piece may be refused because it will take too long to get it up to scratch.

If you are thinking of self-publishing you need to learn great editing skills so your finished book is as polished and as professional as it can be. Even if you are paying an editor, you want it to hit their desk with as few errors as possible. It will cost you less and it leaves room for the editor to concentrate on important areas, not minor errors.

Here are 6 tips you can use to ensure your manuscript is edited well:

1.       Put the document away for at least one week

If you sit and re-read what you have written straight away your brain will miss some mistakes. This is normal because you will be reading what you think is there, not what actually is.

2.       Read it out loud

Reading out loud slows the reading process down. It also allows you to ‘hear’ any words or phrases that don’t sound right. This picks up words which might be spelt right, but are wrong. Words such as ‘chose’ and ‘choose’, ‘dose’ and ‘does’, and ‘next’ and ‘nest’ are often mistyped.

3.       Print and read it again

We get used to reading and seeing only a few paragraphs at a time on a screen. If you print out your manuscript you will find that more errors will appear.

I would suggest that you print it out on A4 paper first, sit down with a pen and edit it thoroughly. And then print it out in the size which it is going to be published. This means you will have decide what size you want your book to be, and format it accordingly.

For example, if you are publishing a small novel which will be printed 8” x 5” print it out to this size. This allows you to see how the story flows on smaller pages. You might find that you need to name your characters more often because their name was printed several pages ago. This helps your reader keep up and follow the story.

4.       Ask someone else to read it

You need to find someone who will give you useful advice and critique your work thoroughly. Don’t ask someone who is too busy or won’t give you an honest opinion. Sadly, this may mean avoiding your loved ones. Your spouse and parents, for example, tend to love everything you do which is nice, but not helpful if you are planning on publishing your work, error free, for the whole world to see.

5.       Get a group of friends together and share read

A shared reading session usually involves several people sitting around and taking it in turns to read. Provide plenty of refreshments and have your manuscript open so you can take down every note. You may come across ideas or even criticisms you have never contemplated. That’s okay, you don’t have to take on board every suggestion, but you would be fool not to consider them. If your friends query something, then it is likely that a reader will too.

6.       Publish

Don’t spend too much time trying to get your manuscript perfect. Truth is, it might never be. You can always go back and make changes later on using Print on Demand publishing options. Once you have gone through a long editing process, publish your book and continue to market it.

Writing a book is a rewarding experience, and I highly recommend everyone gives it a go. Work on presenting your work to the world so it can be viewed in the best light. That way your work will be well-received and appreciated by its readers.

About the author - Susan Day

Susan Day is a children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren. In particular, Susan specializes in helping grandparents share their love of books with their grandchildren. Susan is currently writing a book titled, The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing!

Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves drinking coffee, painting and learning to box.