I promised last week, to take our pre-publishing checklist one after the other. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then it’s probably a good idea for you to first check out my previous blog here before you continue with this one so that you can catch up.
Your manuscript has to go through editing before being proofread. Proofreading is for the final manuscript after you’re satisfied. There are different types of editing needed in a manuscript, and usually different editors needed for them. Read till the end to get my editing hack for indie publishers that don’t really have the money to spend on editors.
There are different types of editing, but there are basically 3 that matter:
1. Developmental Editing
2. Copy/ inline Editing
1.The first stage the manuscript goes through is usually the developmental editing. You carry this out while still writing, possibly during the second draft so you can still incorporate the changes before the final draft. A developmental editor basically goes through your story and checks for any inconsistencies in the story structure, I.e the plot, tone, characters and the likes. Which is why it needs to be done during the writing process because it would totally suck for you to believe you’ve finished your manuscript, then a major inconsistency would be found and you’d have to rewrite a substantial chunk of it. I for one, I know I’d probably cry.
2. The next stage would be the copy or inline editing, which happens after the manuscript is done. The copy editor checks for grammatical errors, blunders, punctuation, etc. They basically put the finishing touch on your manuscript to make sure people don’t give up on what would have otherwise been a really great story, simply because the grammatical errors kept pulling them out of the story. We all know how irritating that usually is.
The final stage is the proofreading. This is the final polish that makes your manuscript glitter, not literally obviously. The proofreader dots the I’s ans crosses the T’s so to speak. They basically check to make sure there are no typographical errors in your manuscript. Sometimes the inline editor may double as the proofreader, unless you really want someone else to do it. It ofcourse goes without saying that these works should be left to the professionals who have the adequate knowledge and experience in your genre.
However, if for example, you do not have the money to afford an experienced editor in your genre; or you are publishing from say somewhere in Africa and all the experienced editors you’re finding online are charging in dollars and the exchange rate isn’t even smiling at all, and the experienced editors you’re finding in your country are tied to those publishing houses that tell you how much you have to pay to be published. But you’re broke and just really want your story to be heard, so you’re looking to publish for free and want the expenses as minimal as possible.
First, you have to finish the manuscript, because well, nothing can happen if you don’t. Then ofcourse go through and redraft, before you send out to your beta readers. If you don’t know what those are, they are people that read whole your unedited manuscript to give you feedback that helps you develop the story even better. Leave a comment if you want a blog on beta readers. After sending out your manuscript, forget about the manuscript and do something else for atleast a month or two. Like maybe start a new story, or concentrate on coming up with your marketing strategies. I have a new book coming out soon and I used these tips while working on it. After I sent it out, I wrote a short story, coming soon for my newsletter subscribers. Then I started, a new story, but that’s on hold right now, and even re-edited my book Is It Too Late? Check it out if you haven’t.
After reasonable time has passed, which you have used wisely, then you can come back to your manuscript with fresh eyes. Do you know that when you look at the same words severally, your brain begins to automatically fill in the gaps when you start reading so you don’t see the errors. Don’t believe me? Try it. Now you would need to cough up some money to subscribe for an editing software, I would recommend prowritingaid since that’s what I use right now. If you can manage their yearly subscription, even better. With their subscription, you get a license that enables you to login how ever many times you want, into any amount of devices you want. You can edit with their desktop app which is great, but they do have loads of other add ons, which is what we are looking for. They have one for MS word. When integrated, as its catching grammar structure errors and how ever many other reports you requested (I think they have about 20), then MS word’s inbuilt grammar checker will be working to catch the ones prowritingaid might have missed. You should of course use the free version of grammarly to polish it up. You can check out my new book, Fated Accident when it comes out next month to check for yourself whether this method worked or not. You can sign up for my newsletter Here to be informed when it goes live.
I feel the need to add that, being able to properly use an editing software, would require an adequate command of English language, and understanding of grammar structures, so you’ll know which of the suggestions to accept and when to reject them.
Next week, we’ll be taking the next item on our checklist. Be sure to check back, or sign up for my newsletter to get informed when a new blog post goes up.