Editing is essential. Even if you really are a fantastic speller and sentences always come naturally to you, your first draft is called your first draft for a reason. There will always be mistakes to rectify, characters to revisit and chapters to rethink. The editing process allows you to step back from your book and think about how it works, and how it needs adapting. It will also make you look at each sentence of your book individually and think about its function to the book as a whole. It can be a long process, but it is an essential part of publishing.
The different types of editing
Editing your own work
Editing your own work can be difficult, as you often read what it is supposed to say, rather than what it does. It is easier to miss typos and plot holes this way. If you want to edit your book entirely by yourself, then you’ll need to dedicate a large amount of time to reading and re-reading your book. You should read it with each of these editing types in mind, to help ensure you are picking everything up.
Some other useful tips for editing your own work:
Finding someone to help you edit
There are lots of freelance editors and companies who will help you edit your work. It’s important to choose someone with good editing credentials. If you aren’t sure about your editor, ask for a sample of their work before entrusting them with yours. If you need help choosing an editor, CompletelyNovel can help out. Check out our People We Trust page for more details.
Editors will usually charge either by the hour, or by the number of words. Make sure you shop around and ask authors for recommendations, you will want to find someone who is going to do a good job, without charging over-the-top prices. Also make sure that you know what kind of edit you are going to get. Remember, your book will need all three types of editing before it is ready to publish.
A cheaper option is to ask your family and friends to help you. This is particularly good for authors who choose to mainly to do their own editing. Your family and friends might help you spot errors and plot holes you might have missed. Remember to take all structural feedback with a pinch of salt; you can’t please everyone, and you shouldn’t try. When it comes to copy editing, you can check all comments on the OED, if you are not sure.
Finished editing? Read our tips on Proofreading
More advice and articles on editing
More tips on editing can be found in the ‘Get Your Book Fit’ online course, here.