I have edited numerous manuscripts: some of them are brilliant, some of them are good, some of them are wonderful, and some of them are awful.
Often, a writer reaches the end of a manuscript and begins to get anxious. “Okay, now what?” the writer thinks. “What do I do with it now? I want to be the next Charles Dickens. My book is uber-awesome, I just know it!”
A lot of people don’t have the patience to go through their work and edit it themselves. I have spoken with writers who claim, “I just can’t stand reading my work over again.” My response: “You have to, even if you don’t want to.”
If you’ve just finished your manuscript, and you’re already thinking about publishing, take a step backwards for a moment. Let go of that anxious “I must do this now” feeling. You have a long ways to go.
Even if you don’t want to, you need to read through it again, and self-edit your book. Otherwise, you will be paying an editor even more money than you normally would, because your book could be a complete mess! In the interest of saving money, brew yourself a pot of coffee on your day off, glue yourself to your chair, and edit, edit, edit!
There are a few books out there that can help you with this endeavor. Here’s one entitled Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Do a search on Amazon: there’s a lot out there that could be helpful to you.
Let’s ask that all-powerful question now:
Are you ready for an editor?
Do a spell-check in Microsoft Word. If you find yourself continually clicking buttons until you finally reach the “Spell Check Completed!” window, then you are probably not ready for an editor.
Consider all of the main events in your story. If you have any doubts that these events may not be properly linked, or that you may have a missing key in there somewhere, then you are probably not ready for an editor.
Go to the beginning of your manuscript and slowly read it out loud to yourself. Reading it out loud is very important, because you may hear any mistakes in your writing that you wouldn’t normally see as you scan the paragraphs. If you find yourself stumbling excessively, or if you happen to see that one of your main characters is called Lynn and also Chelsea, then you are probably not ready for an editor.
Ask a co-worker or an acquaintance to read a page or two of your book and see if they find any glaring errors. Don’t ask a close friend, unless you are sure that they will give you an objective viewpoint. If the reader can’t follow your ideas or doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say, then you are probably not ready for an editor.
It is important for me, as an editor, to make money. However, I also want to help fellow writers, and I know that there are writers out there who don’t like going through their own work.
As someone who has worked with publishers, I have seen manuscripts that were hastily put together and hastily submitted. It was clear to me that the writer did not spend enough time with the finished product.
The moral of this tale? Take your time. If you want to save yourself money, and save yourself aggravation, go through your manuscript at least once before submitting it to an editor.
If you feel that you are ready for an editor, click here to visit my Editing Services & Testimonials page, where you can read a little bit about what I do, and how some of my previous clients felt about my work.