I’m thrilled to have author Traci Sanders on my blog today! She has published many books and has been a huge supporter of indie authors everywhere. Please take the time to read all about Traci and her great tips for editing.
About Author Traci Sanders:
Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies.
An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.
Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.
Traci has a giveaway and the details are below:
*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish– Volume I
*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book –Volume II
To enter, all you have to do is email me a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either of these two books during the tour.
I will draw TWO winners total, at the end of the tour.
Please email your proof of purchase (can be a screenshot) to email@example.com.
TIP 206: Edit like a pro!
You can find this tip, and many more on writing and editing in Before You Publish: Tips on grammar, writing, and editing, now available in digital and paperback format.
You can think of this as a reference guide, rather than a book you need to read from cover to cover. It will become your new go-to guide for all things writing, grammar, and editing. The tips are easy to follow and explained in simple terms that anyone can understand and put to use right away.
I hope you guys are enjoying these tips so far. The adage “learning through teaching” is true. By sharing these tips with you guys, I learn even more about the industry as well.
This tip delves a bit deeper into each step of the editing process.
I want to make it quite clear that I do not suggest these tips as a substitution for professional editing. I’m simply offering them as a short tutorial to help you in the pre-editing phase (the edits you do on your own before sending your manuscript to your professional editor).
There are basically three types of editing that should be done to each manuscript:
Proofreading: basic grammar check, verb-tense consistency, spacing, etc.
Copy editing: includes proofreading but also incorporates heavier focus on sentence restructure, eliminates redundancy, substitutes weak verbs or verb phrases with stronger ones –all while maintaining the original tone/theme of your work.
Line editing: involves several lines/paragraphs being rewritten on occasion, includes comments to “teach” the proper way to write for future reference, may take multiple revisions to get it right–all while maintaining the original tone/theme of your work.
Here are some quick-and-dirty tips to edit your manuscript like a pro (before sending it to the pro):
Do a quick spell-check to find glaring issues—misspelled words, misused words (there vs. their), missed spaces or too much space in between sentences. (Proofreading stage—mostly focus on grammatical issues)
Read it through and edit for content. Check for story gaps, misstated character names, illogical sentences or paragraphs. If you outlined your story, this process shouldn’t be too challenging. If you see any glaring grammatical issues at this point, change them. Otherwise, you will catch them in the final proofread. If, during this part of the process, you find areas where you may need to flesh out the story more or change a few things around, you can use the “comments” feature in Word to make notes about what needs to be done so you won’t be bogged down right away in this stage. You can always print that one section out or work through it in a separate Word doc to be added into the story later, and thanks to your notes, you will know exactly where it needs to go. (Copy editing stage)
Once you’ve made sure your story makes sense and fits your outline, the dirty work begins.
Go to the “find” feature in Word and click on it. Choose “replace all.” In the top field, type the space bar twice, then tab to the bottom field and type the space bar once. This gets rid of extra space between sentences, if there are any more. You can do the same with (..) vs. (.) to eliminate extra periods that the spell-check didn’t catch. It happens.
Now, you are going to do the line editing. This part takes the longest of any other aspect of the editing process. Basically, you are going to read through your book line-by-line to check for sentence structure, any other misused words (ex: you typed “quite” when you meant “quiet”), and most of all—story consistency. Your story has to flow well for readers. (Line editing stage)
Once you have finished the line edits, take a break! Do not keep reading over and over your work. Your eyes are tired, and you know your story too well. You’ve done all you can (and should) do for the moment. Take at least three days to one week away from your work. Write something else, or preferably, do something that doesn’t pertain to writing or any type of digital screen at all if possible.
After your break, come back to your story for one final proof before you send it off to your editor. Do one more spell check just to be sure. Check for formatting issues (un-centered text that should be centered, extra spaces between paragraphs, etc.) What you have done so far will save you time and money in the long run. Instead of needing a full rewrite/deep edit, you may only need an extra proofread from your editor (an extra set of trained eyes to check for subtle errors), which should only cost around $200 (or less) instead of $400/$500.
If all of this sounds like too much work, you are welcome to leave it all up to your editor, but get ready to pay a hefty fee. These are time-consuming tasks and you WILL pay dearly for an editor’s time. Not to mention, you will be waiting longer to get your story back to be able to publish.
Also, if you are not proficient in Word with setting up TOCs and formatting, I highly recommend you hire a formatting specialist. Your kindle readers will thank you … hopefully in sales.
**One important thing to remember: Don’t try to edit when you are in a hurry, exhausted, or hungry. You may miss things that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Make sure you aren’t distracted by people, digital devices, or noise.
The main reason you don’t want to be the final editor on your work is because you are too emotionally close to it. You may be hesitant to change/remove things that need to go to make the story stronger. In writing, less is usually more.
Be sure to check out all of Traci’s amazing books on her Amazon Author Page: