sebgwrites

Worlds of imagination by Sara B. Gauldin

Publishing – The Completed Book and Editing

Most would-be authors have dreamed of writing that first book far before they reach that goal. To put things in perspective, a novella is around 30,000 words, a novel should be around 80,000, and an epic approached 120,000 words. In comparison to the 1,00 word essays we once dreaded, the completed book is a mammoth task, a true labor of love.

As a fledgling author puts the final touched on that first real book the feeling of accomplishment is intense. This is it, the book that will change everything! Images of the New York Times best-seller list and quitting the dreaded day job fill the new authors thoughts, pushing out any notion that this noteworthy accomplishment is only the beginning. In fact, the book itself is the proverbial tip of the iceberg! The next step is where the real work begins!

edit

Years ago, writing the book was the main task. To enter the world of the published author, today’s writer has to learn more skills and must prepare in ways that previous generation of authors never dreamed of. Gone are the days of sending a raw manuscript to a publisher who takes responsibility for editing, publishing and (gasp) marketing the book. Today’s successful author has learned to outsource some tasks, editing being the most crucial, followed by book cover design and formatting.

Let me back up a bit and tell the story of my first publication. It was 2012, and I decided that I wanted to add author to my job description. I devoted myself to write 1,000 words per day, and soon a novella was born.

It was at this point that I made my first mistake. I edited my own book. BAD IDEA. Yes, all authors should work to eliminate as many errors as humanly possible, before sending the work to a content editor. The content editor will read for continuity and plot points. They will be able to point out redundancy and discrepancies that the author’s brain will automatically adjust for. The author, having spent countless hours with the story will become blind to any gaps, and a fresh set of eyes is crucial. When the book returns from the content editor, it still needs work. It will likely take some time to go through the editor’s suggestions and make any needed changes. Sometimes the changes take some rework and therefore, are time consuming. Remember all the proofreading that the author already did? Now they will need to do that again. After another perusal, sending the book to actual proofreader is a good idea. It is really easy to miss a comma here or a semicolon there. And those tiny errors scream amateur.

Try This:

  • Use a grammar checking program such as White Smoke to catch mistakes.
  • Listen to your book using Text to Speech Software such as Text Aloud.
  • Join a writers critique group.
  • Find other writers or avid readers who are willing to beta read your book and provide  feedback.  Don’t ask loved ones to beta read for you, they will not want to hurt your feelings and it will be hard for them to remain objective.
  • Hire a content editor- shop around and ask for references.
  • Hire a proof reader.
  • Convert your book to a mobi or pdf file and view it on a Kindle, some errors are easy to spot this way.

When you have edited your book to the point that it is painful then, and only then are you ready for the next step in the publishing process. If you have decided to attempt to publish traditionally, it is at this point you should send your manuscript out for consideration. Publishers are looking for a completed product that will sell, and until your book has been thoroughly edited, it will not meet that criteria. If you plan to self publish, now is the time you should move on to formatting.

Join me in my next post, where I give you the basics of formatting and where to get help.

Sara B Gauldin is the award winning author of the Corporeal Pull Series and the Avery Rich Mysteries.  Check out all of her up and coming projects here!

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One comment on “Publishing – The Completed Book and Editing

  1. Pingback: Publishing: Formatting | sebgwrites

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2016 by in Writing Tips and tagged , , , .
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