Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Author Tips: Edit your book

Don't you just hate reading a book that has been poorly edited and proof-read?  This doesn't always happen with self-published authors, it happens with mainstream traditionally published authors as well.  And then you get even more mad when you spot typos!  I find when reading a self-published book I turn a blind eye to a couple of proof-reading mishaps, but when it happens in a traditionally published book I get angry.
If you want to hit the big-time with your books, you need to make sure they are professionally edited and you can't neglect that.  Same as you can't neglect a professional looking cover.

Professionally Edited Books Scream “Buy Me”
By Denise Turney
(Author – Love Pour Over Me (Available at, B&N, iTunes, etc.)
True. It takes dedication and commitment to start and finish a book. There are the starts and stops, the times when, as an author, you doubt you have the skill to flesh out characters and develop engaging dialogue and riveting storylines. If you’re a working parent, not only must you meet the demands of a full-time job while creating your masterpiece, you also must find a way to nurture, guide and support your children. I can see you sitting up late nights staring at your computer monitor, waiting for a more robust plot to come to you, seemingly out of nowhere.
Day after day, week after week you kept at it, and now you have a full manuscript in your hands. You are to be commended on having completed your book. So, here’s to you. Go grab a cup of tea, coffee, whatever you like to drink, then come back for a bit of surprising news. . . .
You’ve just started. You see, writing a first draft is the easy part.  Now it’s time to start editing your novel. Although each writer is different, it’s recommended that you self-edit your manuscript at least two times. As a tip, if you find yourself defending parts of your manuscript (e.g. keeping a dialogue scene in when it doesn’t move the story forward), consider stepping away from the manuscript for a few days, maybe even as long as a week.
Tips to Improve the Self-Editing Process
To catch weak characters, unbelievable dialogue, run on sentences or abrupt time or scene shifts, consider reading the manuscript aloud. Your ears may pick up awkward spots in your story you would otherwise miss. You can also ask a friend to read a part of your manuscript to you over the telephone or in person. Pay attention to instances when the writing feels awkward or strained. Jot down the page numbers and paragraphs where this awkward writing occurs, so you can easily return to these scenes and edit them.
After the last self-edit is completed, submit the manuscript to a professional editor. Keep in mind that even the most talented authors hire professional editors to give their books a final edit.  A good way to find qualified and experienced book editors is to ask published authors for recommendations. Furthermore, directories and organizations like Book Market, Writer’s Digest, the National Writers Union and the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors include professional editors in their resource listings
Work With a Professional Critique Group
Should you feel you don’t have the finances to pay for the services of a professional book editor, you can join professional writers critique groups.  Both online and offline writers critique groups are available for you to join, whether you are a new or established writer.  For example, some writers groups meet at local libraries or bookstores. Most of these groups require members to regularly critique each others’ work.  For instance, writers might be required to read and critique two to three short stories, poems or novels that are written by other authors once a month in order to remain active in the critique group. The good news is that it’s generally free to join writers critique groups.
By having your book professionally edited or critiqued, you can spot and strengthen weak plots, improve the pace of various scenes and ensure your sentence structure is strong. Getting your book edited by a professional editor may also increase the chances that readers find the story flows smoothly. In addition, book reviewers may appreciate reading and spreading the word about your professionally written and edited novel.
Denise Turney:
 Denise Turney is a professional writer who brings more than thirty-two years of book, newspaper, magazine, radio and business writing to a project. She is the author of the books Portia, Love Has Many Faces, Spiral, Rosetta’s Great Adventure, Long Walk Up and Love Pour Over Me. Denise Turney is an internationally celebrated author who is listed in various entertainment and business directories, including industry leaders such as Who’s Who, 100 Most Admired African American Women and Crosswalk. Denise Turney’s works have appeared in Parade, Essence, Ebony, Madame Noire, The Pittsburgh Quarterly and Obsidian II.
 Title: Love Pour Over Me
Publisher: Chistell Publishing
Release date: March 2012
Purchase Link:


Unknown said...

Great post. Thank you for hosting Denise today :)

Penny J. Leisch said...

Good advice for all writers. I too react badly to seeing what I consider silly errors in publications by major publishers. I'd like to see a future article about how to select a critique group, especially when one has to find one that is online. Any ideas?

Cindy Vine said...

She Writes has some groups on there that might critique your work. Are there perhaps any writers' groups in your area?