So you wrote a book, now what: Editing
Look, I’m actually following through on something….
In the last segment I spoke about where to start for information on Copyright. In today’s segment I’m going to stress the importance of editing. If you are going to spend money this is where to put it. But even if you don’t have a lot of money there are ways to get a polished manuscript for next to nothing.
Traditional editor route:
This is where you hire someone who edits works for a living. You should get recommendations from your friends. I highly recommend my editor, Tiya Marshall. You can reach her by emailing email@example.com. I have only ever really used Tiya, so I cannot recommend anyone else to you from personal experience. Just make sure you don’t go to any old “editor” that hangs a shingle though. It is acceptable to ask people you may hire to do a sample page or two from your work to see if you are going to mesh. As one of the most crucial and expensive things on your book check list, it pays to choose carefully. Keep in mind though, editors are humans and they won’t poof your work back to you within three days. So, don’t expect them to conform to your schedule. You should always tell your potential editor of any timeline issues or constraints. Some of them will move work around to help you out. Also, some editors ask for half the fee upfront. That is reasonable. Just make sure whomever you choose communicates well with you and that you can open whatever file they return to you!
Beta readers will often read your work and give you feedback with the promise of helping them on their next beta read. Sometimes there are critique groups. Other times there are groups of authors and editors that get together on Facebook and exchange manuscripts. A good friend could also be a beta reader. Be careful who you trust with your manuscript though, as some people are scammers and just want to steal your work. I don’t know much about how to find beta readers, but if you are in a group with other authors you can always ask them what groups to join for betas.
I have a super cool Word plug-in from https://prowritingaid.com/ . They also have a free version online where you can paste what you wrote on the site for it to analyze. There is also a beta version of the desktop for Scrivener and other program users. Now, it can take a lot of memory and time to run some of the plug-in simulations, but the feedback is so worth it. I actually use this program and my editor. I purchased a lifetime membership. You can sign up for a free trial and get a working copy of the Word Plug. The catch is once it expires it will not work anymore. If you wait long enough after it expires they will eventually offer you 20% off in a coupon or at least they used to. I think it was just a day or two when I got my coupon which let me get the lifetime license for around $96.00!
I do recommend that you have someone else help you with your book as far as editing. If you simply cannot afford an editor or you are paranoid about having others read your work then I suggest putting your work down for several weeks to get it out of your mind. When you write something, you see every word and know how the story goes, even if somebody else doesn’t follow where you are going. We are blind to our story sometimes. I have been guilty of this myself and this is why a real live human reader was so very helpful for me. After you have waited a few weeks, pick up the book and read it out loud to yourself. If anything sounds funny to you, mark it for possible revision/inspection.