So, you’ve written your novel and now have a first draft in your hands. Ready to send it off to literary agents or publishers?
Well, not so fast! Sure, you will no doubt be super excited about completing this project, but before you can send it off to other people, you need to make sure that it has been thoroughly edited. Ok, so editing isn’t an author’s favorite job, but you really do need to make sure that you give your book a good going over before you start submitting it. Otherwise, potential publishers and literary agents might read it and pick up on a wide variety of mistakes – that’s not going to show you off in a good light!
It’s important that you understand how to self-edit your book and these following tips can help you do just that.
Leave It For A Month Or So
It’s no good diving straight into the editing as soon as you have completed your first draft. Your head will be too full of the novel, and you might find it difficult to spot problems with the plot or structure as a result. It’s much better to put the manuscript away for a couple of months to give yourself a break. When you return to it, you will have fresh eyes and will be able to spot mistakes a lot easier.
Boost Your Language Skills
If your English language skills aren’t really up to scratch, you will find that your editing isn’t quite as strong as it should be. You might want to take a look of some of the blog posts on Effortless English so that you can remind yourself on how the English language works. There are also lots of grammar books that you can use to cross reference while you are doing your editing.
Pass It To A Friend
You will only be able to edit your book so much. As you are so close to the work, there will be some mistakes that you won’t be able to spot no matter how hard you look. So, it’s a good idea to get a team of beta readers together so that they can read your first draft and point out any mistakes that they notice. They will also be able to let you know if there are any plot holes or confusing parts in the story anywhere.
Don’t Over Edit
Of course, you need to remember that there is always the risk of over editing. After all, you don’t want to cut away parts of a story that you have spend months writing and developing! It’s best to keep your stints editing short and quick so that you don’t do too much damage to the plot. If you feel like you are overdoing it at all, take a step back and have a couple of hours’ break.
Editing your novel is going to be hard work, but make sure that you give it some time, effort and patience. You’ll have a better book because of it. Hopefully, all of the above tips will make it easier for you!
*I was financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*