Editing a must for self publishers

Lunching with a friend of mine who has a lovely little self published children’s book.

“It’s time I got some more printed,” he said. Alarm bells went off in my head. It was a good first effort but it had some major flaws. It was selling well on the Travelling Bookstall despite its problems but the book needed ‘work’. My author had written his stories and not edited them.

It is the most common mistake a budding author makes. Then instead of editing, they rush off to the new story/book/screenplay.

If you are serious about being a professional self published author you have to do at least 5 edits, many do 10. Here are the 6 edits suggested by Chris Jones, Director of the London Screenwriters Festival.

  • Dump draft-just write everything. Do NOT send this manuscript to anyone.
  • Now you know what your story is about go back and correct any and every mistake, including SPELLING. If you are picking a cheap option for publishing, ask ALL your friends to help. Don’t accept your computer spell checker.
  • Give it to a trusted friend and listen to what they have to say. What works, what doesn’t work. Make those changes because they ARE your audience
  • Copy Edit, go through with a fine tooth comb, line by line for SPELLING mistakes
  • Give your work to a friend who is working in your industry and listen to what they have to say. Make those changes because you want your work to SELL.
  • One last edit and then send to agencies, say this is your first draft.

Every time you are rejected, find out why and rework you book/screenplay/article before sending it off.

And if you decide to be self published, this is the copy you send to the editing agency, proof reader or copy editor.

Our reading public has some negative views about self published books. We don’t want to stop them from picking up the book and a solid edit, with no spelling mistakes will help you get across that hurdle.

Cat Randle