Editing your book can fill writers with as much dread as excitement. On the one hand, it means that you have finished your first draft, and that is something to be massively celebrated. On the other, you will be aware that you still have a long road to continue down before your work is complete, and editing can feel laborious and painful to many.
By understanding the different editorial stages that every writer must go through to finish with a presentable and publishable piece of work, writers can find better clarity around the steps they need to take to get to the finish line.
If you are self-publishing and want to make your book available on Kindle Direct Publishing, you need to ensure that it is edited to a professional standard. Readers are paying out their hard earned cash for a copy of your book, and if it is full of errors its like sending out a faulty item and you can bet they’ll leave you negative reviews saying so,
We all know what editing is a crucial stage of the writing process, we accept that without editing our books remain in poor shape, and it is by reworking them that they start to become something much more exciting. The editing process is a grueling one but is also very gratifying too.
So what are the stages that must be bored through to make your manuscript the very best it can be? Let’s explore…
Content editing is about re-reading your story in its entirety with the overarching aim of making it as professional and brilliant as possible. Initially, it would help if you tried to focus solely on the different elements that make up your story and pass over grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Focus on the structure of your novel, the story development, and character arcs while continuing to ask yourself, “does this work?” It’s best to print out your work, hold it in your hands, read it as you would a book, turn those pages, and make notes as you go. You might want to pay particular attention to the opening, does it hook you and draw you in? Do you feel as though your story is reflective of the genre? Does each scene work hard to drive the story forward? Is the pacing correct? Does it build to an exciting cliamax? Is your conclusion satisfactory? Are your characters recognisable from one another? Do subplots make sense? Is your point of view consistent?
Rewrite your story making the necessary changes and then move on to stage two.
Line editing is where you get up close and personal with your book. You need to take a microscope, the language you’ve used, your choice of words, and make sure that your selections are appropriate, clear, and exciting sentences that are a pleasure to read. You may wish to ask yourself whether your language is direct and to the point? Repetitive? Whether it creates a consistent tone? Is it varied? Do you use strong verbs over adverbs?
Line editing will improve the readability of your story and polish the tone, so it is consistent and appropriate throughout. It can be challenging for authors to complete this stage as it requires a good deal of emotional detachment from the work, but it really is worth investing the time into this step.
The last stage in the editing process is proofreading your work. You will become eagle-eyed to any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Make sure you have used the correct punctuation and syntax and ensure that your use of punctuation is consistent throughout your novel.
This is also an excellent time to sense-check your work and ensure there are no inconsistencies, ambiguous statements, and that the work is factually correct.
Once you have proofread your book, you can go through the entire thing again, reading it aloud. This can provide one last check, combining all three stages to ensure that there are no awkward sentences or errors.
Editing in this way is methodical, detailed and should bring great results and ensure your book is in the best shape possible before publishing on KDP. Next time you have finished the first draft, make sure you use these three stages of editing to guide you and produce a manuscript to be proud of!
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