To start, approach your draft with fresh eyes. I always recommend my clients put their manuscript away for at least a full seven days, if not more. The human brain is a mysterious and wondrous thing, and during that down time, it will make new connections, uncover new problems, and show you areas where your story might need some help.
EDITING ENCOMPASSES SEVERAL PARTS OF YOUR WORK:
- THE STRUCTURAL STUFF (developmental edit): This includes things like plot, pacing, and character development in novels.
- THE INDIVIDUAL SENTENCES (line or substantive editing): This includes the rhythm of your words, how everything reads, and the logical structure of sentences and paragraphs.
- THE OVERALL COPY (copy editing): This includes spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
You need to go through these three phases before you proofread, which is the final check to make sure you’ve caught as many errors as humanly possible.
Once you’ve completed your self-editing, you can move on to working with other writers for feedback, seeking an agent, or hiring a freelance editor. Whether you want to self-publish or pursue traditional publishing, I always recommend finding a critique partner and/or beta readers. These are writers and readers, respectively, who will provide input on story structure. They may even catch some typos!
If you’re going to self-publish, you should always work with a professional editor. There are editors out there for every budget, and many are willing to work with authors on a limited budget. Reach out to see how their schedule is looking (we book up quickly).
Read @btleditorial’s full guide (featured in Issue 17) above!
Hannah Bauman is an editor and writing coach based in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. She founded Between the Lines Editorial in 2016 and has worked with authors from around the world. If you’re curious about Hannah’s editorial services, contact her at email@example.com for more information and a free sample edit.