There’s a step that comes after you finish writing your book and before you hire an editor that can easily be overlooked or overdone.
What I’m referring to is the self-editing process, and authors should handle this with care. Because if you don’t find a happy medium, there are dangers on both sides of the spectrum.
One danger is you spend little to no time revising your book, trusting that the editor will solve all your book’s problems for you. This is a bad philosophy because an editor can’t read your mind so you’re asking too much of them.
Another danger is if you’re always finding another sentence to revise, you never move on to hire an editor. You’ll fear the idea of an editor analyzing your work to judge you. That’s a failure because you’re book will never go on to get published. And you’ll never become an author to get those author benefits.
So you don’t have to deal with either of these problems, self-edit your book the right way.
Revisions Done The Right Way
Step One: Analyze your book’s organization and structure
You have to start with analyzing your book’s organization before you get into smaller details.
To do this, check out your book’s structure while asking these questions:
- Does the book accomplish what it promised in its title and introduction?
- Are the chapters organized in the most helpful order for the audience?
- Are there any missing holes?
- Does the introduction transition well into the meat of the book? Is the conclusion as effective as it can be?
Once you address the big picture, move on to the specific details below.
Step Two: Read with the eyes of your target audience
You’re going to be naturally biased or unaware of weak parts in your book because you wrote it.
So the next step is to take on the eyes of your target audience and read your book out loud with them in mind.
While you’re reading out loud, ask yourself:
- Is the writing voice entertaining?
- How are the transitions from paragraph to paragraph?
- What sentences (or paragraphs) need to be cut for clarity?
- What areas need more information or support for improvement?
Step Three: Focus on word choice, grammar, and spelling
The least important step of the three, yet you’ll make your editor’s job easier and help yourself when you focus on these finer details.
Read your book out loud again, but this time ignore content and focus on how it’s worded. Do you repeat the same word too much? Do you use the same sentence structure over and over?
During this time, I’m Google searching for synonyms and proper grammar usage. It’s all worth it to give your future reader the best book possible.
Then you’re done and you can pass your book off to an editor.
It’s paramount that you take the time to complete two main objectives before hiring an editor.
Objective one is that you make sure you have a complete book ready for the editor to look over.
Objective two is that your book is the best version it can be for now (although it doesn’t need to be perfect because an editor is going to review it).
Follow the self-editing steps above and you’ll accomplish both of these. Plus, you’ll put your editor in position to succeed.
That’s the ideal situation. Then you’re well on your way to publishing your book!
Related: How To Avoid Hiring A Bad Editor