One of the greatest misunderstandings we encounter with self-publishing authors occurs when it comes time to edit their initial manuscript. There seems to be much confusion stemming from the types of changes needed in order to create a stronger story and prepare for publication of the final version; with some clients becoming disappointed, once they realize that their work must go through the editing process.
Yet, the truth is every writing needs editing… and every Writer needs a good Editor.
This is because, as the author of your work, there will come a time when your eyes see what you meant to write, not what is really there. Or, there just may be weaknesses in the story line, the flow of information, or the development of your characters. Much like when you give birth to a natural baby and trust the support of doctors and nurses to bring your baby into the world in the best conditions possible; cleaning him/her up before showing them off, so too are those who are concerned about the presentation of their work. Embrace the assistance of a professional, allowing plenty of time for a thorough rewrite of your work following manuscript edits, in order to make sure that your creative baby is also birthed forth in excellence.
Let me attempt to clarify the two important phases of this process.
When an Editor takes hold of your manuscript, s[he] is primarily focused on thestructure of the writing; your story essentially remains the same. This is one-sided, with the Editor writing comments and corrections on the draft for you to pay attention to in your revision; which may include:
- Pointing out awkward phrases and sentence structure
- Deleting unnecessary words and sentences
- Highlighting word choice
- Correcting grammatical or spelling errors
This may also contain suggesting entire paragraphs be moved or removed, thoughts and information improved and/or enhanced, or vague and confusing text completely rewritten.
However, when you are revising your manuscript, the focus is now on modifying the way in which the intended reader will experience and interpret the story; essentially a re-VISION. To do this, you may:
- Add new content
- Clarify existing content
- Replace words with more descriptive ones
- Provide more depth/detail
- Remove extraneous or unnecessary elements
It is not unusual to go through multiple (two or three) rounds of editing and revision of your manuscript to perfect it. Don’t get discouraged and throw your hands up (or worse, the manuscript)!
Believe me, the Editor is your friend… as a matter of fact, your BEST friend, during this process. They are truly on your side, and want what you want: a journey your reader will fall in love with and enjoy experiencing.
It’s your baby; so be encouraged in the knowledge that an Editor will help you through the process to ensure that your work is fully developed and ready to be birthed forth… in excellence.
“Edits alone cannot improve a manuscript; only authors can do that.” ~Michael Garrett; Stephen King’s first Editor