To edit or to not edit …

This is the week I am finally sending my manuscript off to the editors. 

For any author (noob or expert) I think this is a daunting task. This will most probably be on of the first times a professional would have read your baby. This is not like giving your book to your mum to read … My nerves are shot.

So, I am going to answer a few questions to shed a little more light on the dark underground of the editing world. Well, there is really no “dark underground” most of the editors I have spoken to have been super nice people. Once again, they are just people.

When I spoke to editor recently about how nervous I was/am she said something really sweet that I want to share with the void. “Think of me as an old friend who has your best interest at heart. My intentions are good: to support you while you bring your MS up to the best level it can be …” And that is exactly what you want to find.

Can’t I just edit myself?

By all means, please do! Multiple times. I have rewritten my manuscript at least fourteen times, not to mention all the additions, subtractions, character changes, etc. that have been done. But this doesn’t mean that your MS is “publish ready.”

All manuscripts MUST be edited by a professional. If you can’t afford the prices (which can be expensive) try to work something out with your editor. I have worked out a kind of payment plan with mine, something that works well for both of us. 

What about editing software?

No. Just … no. Computers are good, but nothing will ever replace or replicate the flow human writing. 

When should I have an editor look at my work?

As soon as you haven’t fiddled with it in a few months and you are starting to think about self-publishing it. 

If you are going to go for traditional publishing, DO NOT get your MS edited. You can get it assessed or get a mentor, but do not have it edited. Agents and publishers like it a little bit raw, because they have their own editors there waiting to have at your MS. 

If you are self-publishing, this will be one of the last things you do. Think of this moment as “time.” Time to get your cover art done. Time to organize your marketing campaign. Time to get all your social media up and out there. Time to work on your website. (Yes! You MUST have a website!)

In this time, I am working on my cover and organising myself. I am working out a better schedule to optimise and balance my writing vs my other authorly duties.

Which type of editing should I use?   

There are a few different types of editing, but mostly they boil down to two main types: Copy Editing/Proofreading and Structural/Developmental Editing.

Copy Editing and Proofreading is the bare bones of editing. It generally includes fixing spelling errors, punctuation, grammar, style, omissions, repetitions, repetitions, typographical errors. Sometimes a CE or PR will include one revision, but not always.

Structural/Developmental Editing is the meaty edit. This is where the editor evaluates the novel as a whole. They look for plot holes and problems in the structure and organisation. They pull you up on logical/illogical consistencies. They may also do their own reconstructing. 

This is the one that we fear. The one where (we have all heard the author horror stories) they tear your MS apart. But if you have a look in most successful author’s acknowledgements, you will often see a thank you to the editor. A good author knows that their work needs work. We are too close to it. It is our baby and we always look at our children with rose coloured glasses on. 

But it is the one a MS must have before being published. 

Who or which editor should I use?

My main suggestion for this on is to shop around. Send out emails and see who you seem to have a little rapport with. You need to feel comfortable with your editor as you may be working with them for a long time. 

It is also a good idea to go with someone that has been recommended to you. That way you know that they are good at their good before you spend all the money.

I hope I have helped. 

AMC xxx

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