When should I have an editor look at my manuscript? Sooner, rather than later!
Your book deserves the same kind of thoughtful editorial support that bestselling commercial authors receive. Self publishing shouldn’t mean producing a book of lower quality. In the world of publishing, the editorial process isn’t a cursory look at your manuscript once it’s finished. Editing is woven all the way through the process of creating the manuscript to prepare it for publication.
The graphic below illustrates the continuum of services we provide as professional editors during of the writing process.
PLAN & ORGANIZE: Editors can help authors from the very beginning as the author creates the draft. We help to shape and clarify the main ideas and consider how they might best be organized. The editor works with the author to develop an outline that will guide the writing as the manuscript evolves. A good plan is essential for a good book.
MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION: Think of a manuscript evaluation as a progress report from your editor. It is best while your draft is still open to major revisions. The editor reads your draft, gives it a thoughtful, in-depth review, and offers insights on ways to make your story more interesting and effective. This service is very popular with authors, as it is inexpensive and very helpful to confer with an expert while in the process of writing.
CONTENT EDITING: At this point, you have a finished rough draft. It’s time for one of the most important, and often misunderstood, parts of the writing process – revision. We look at the whole of the book, and its parts, too – the sections, chapters, paragraphs, sentences, and even word choices – and determine how it all works together. Your editor will recommend revisions: adding, cutting, moving or changing parts of your book, all to make it a better reading experience.
COPY EDITING: Copy editing comes at the end of our continuum. (After all, why correct something that might be cut?) You have probably encountered books that were marred by errors; the mark of a poorly edited book. A professional editor reviews your manuscript for correctness at the sentence and word level for syntax, grammar and mechanics, spelling and punctuation. This is a painstaking process, but well worth the effort and expense.
Do you need all these services? Perhaps not. Skilled writers often learn to edit as well. Some authors have writing support groups or an experienced, skilled friend willing to lend a hand. Don’t go it alone. Every book, and every author, should get editing at each of the stages we have described. We encourage you to make your book the best it can be!