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Editing is incredibly important in self-publishing, so we recommend always hiring a professional if you can afford to do so. If not, here are 6 great practices for editing your own work.
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Editing is one of the most important aspects of any self-published work or any work in general, so this is something that you’re really going to want to invest in and spend some money to bring in a professional to help you get it to where your manuscript needs to be. But maybe you’re not at that point yet, so to get you started, we’ve got six tips that will help get you on the right track.
1. Take a break! So you finished your book. Congratulations! But now you need to take a step back from the work and look at it with fresh eyes. You know several days, several weeks, even several months later. While you’re waiting, go ahead and create an outline or a summary of what you would hope to achieve with the finished book so that can help guide you as you go back to edit.
2. Let’s trim some of that fat. You want to look at anything that doesn’t advance the plot or help you reach that goal that you outlined in the time that you were taking a break. If you notice any inconsistencies or anything that’s not getting you to that goal, get it right out, cut it out of there. No time for it. Just a friendly reminder as you’re going through your manuscript, those really good ideas or that great dialogue or that beautiful scene that you may have written in the beginning… Maybe now it doesn’t look so great. Maybe now it looks kind of weird or a little bit off. So don’t be afraid to take it out and start over. You know all writers write bad lines, they just take them out before they publish. So just because you’re seeing things that maybe aren’t as great as you thought they were, it does not mean that you are a bad writer. It means you’re a good writer because you noticed it and you’re gonna take it out to make the book even better.
3. Read it in a new format. So this may sound simple but you probably typed your story or your manuscript on a laptop, so go ahead and print that sucker out and change the font, make it bigger, make it bolder, make the font size different, so that you can look at it with new eyes and see a fresh perspective. So really physically changing the format, is going to rewire your brain and allow you to see it in a different way and pick out those inconsistencies.
4. Read your work out loud. When you read things silently it’s easier for your brain to gloss over mistakes or fix things, so you may not notice them. But reading your work out loud in that large font that we just talked about is really gonna help you pick out any inconsistencies or any problems or any weird wording that you may stumble over which could cause problems for your reader
5. Be ruthless. No line should be safe in your manuscript. Nothing that you’ve written should be untouchable, and if you think that it is, then you are doing it wrong. So you know obviously you don’t have any enemies, none of us do, but if you did What would they think when they’re reading your manuscript? Look at it that way. So if the person who dislikes you the most was reading your work, they’re gonna be probably pretty mean about it so try to embody that and look through it with really a refined eye to make sure that you’re cutting out everything that isn’t relevant or won’t be interesting to your readers.
Recommended Tools: Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, Scrivener