Maybe the most overlooked, but definitely one of the most important steps to publishing a successful book is the editing and proofreading process. Because editing and proofreading seem to go hand in hand, most people assume they are one in the same. In fact, they are two separate stages of the revision process, both focusing on different aspects of the writing.

Did you know?

90% of manuscripts submitted to a publisher will be rejected for primary, fixable errors! This is shocking because it is such an easy problem to prevent. Authors–even very experienced authors–need to hire an editor and a proofreader to make sure their manuscript is the best that it can be.

When it comes to your budget, the cost of having your manuscript edited and proofread by a professional should be at the very top of your budget. Editors and proofreaders can be expensive, but hiring them is a necessary step if you want to publish a book of which you are truly proud. A good book is a team effort. Make sure you have a great team to make you look good.

How to save money on editing:

Before you send your manuscript to an editor, there are some easy ways to reduce the amount of editing time your manuscript will require. Simply do as much editing as you can on your own by using these tips. Here are some proven techniques that will help you to edit your work before sending it to the pros.

  1. It is important to look at what you wrote with “fresh eyes” when you are editing. To be sure you are fresh, set your manuscript aside for a day or more before editing.
  2. Read all the way through, from front to back, to see the flow of your writing and make sure that your story is well organized and your paragraphs transition smoothly.
  3. Ask friends and family to read your manuscript and to give you as much specific, honest feedback as possible.

Here is a list of aspects to analyze when you edit your manuscript:

Content

Make sure that your facts are all backed up by research and the claims you have made throughout the manuscript are consistent. You should have done this in the writing stage but it’s always good to double check the details.

If you are using quotes, make sure that you have every word in correct order and the name and spelling of the originator is right. Yont don’t want your book to go to print only to find out that the Dolly Llama is in fact the Dalai Lama!

Overall Structure

You never get a second chance to make a first impression! Your opening paragraph should be well thought out, captivating and engage the reader. It should also convey the overall message of what your book is going to be about.

The body is what is going to bridge the gap between your introduction and conclusion. Make sure that your words are relevant to your story, and that the order in which you tell it is in logical sequence. Make sure you have clear transitions between paragraphs and a definite topic sentence for each.

While a conclusion is a summary of the entire work, don’t simply restate facts. Your conclusion is not only going to be wrapping it all up, but it’s your final word on the subject. Ending on a positive note is always a plus. Think of it as your gift to the reader.

Style

Although your book should be a representation of your voice, it’s important to “cut the fluff” by avoiding prepositional phrases and redundant adjectives. Readers are more than capable of filling in the blanks when you’re writing “tight”.

To avoid repeating words, check out thesaurus.com. There are usually multiple definitions for one word, so make sure the sub word you’re using is the correct meaning. This is also a great tool to use during the writing process.

Proofing

Now that your book has a nice flow, it’s time to get down to basics! There’s nothing more distracting for your readers than misspelled words. Sorry to say, but your spell and grammar checker isn’t foolproof and can’t be relied upon entirely.

Keeping this step systematically planned will enable you to catch more errors. Here’s how:

  • Split it up. Focus on one type of correction at a time (grammar, spelling punctuation).
  • Go slow, reading every word. Try reading out loud (you can hear the errors that your subconscious would otherwise correct).
  • Start at the end. Reading your book backwards tricks your brain. You will be less focused on the content, enabling you to hone in on finding typos.
  • When in doubt, double check. If something doesn’t look right, but you just can’t put your finger on it, look it up!

If you need guidance in finding a good editor or proofreader, feel free to contact SEGR Publishing at info@SEGRpublishing.com.