This is the fourth post in my eight-week series on publishing and editing! I can’t believe we’re already halfway there! Check out the chart at the end for a schedule.
Today, we’re going to go more in-depth on whether your book is ready for an editor. Even if you plan to publish traditionally, you should run your book by an editor. Before this, though, you need to make sure your manuscript is ready.
Step Away for a While
This is something I picked up from Stephen King. I mention his book On Writing in my post on my favorite books on writing. Put your book down for at least one month and work on something else. This way you can approach it with fresh eyes.
Read it Through with Fresh Eyes
After you’ve stepped away for at least a month, read through the book with fresh eyes. If you can, don’t make any edits on this first read through. And if you have the time, try to do it in one sitting. This will help you catch any major problems with the story like plot holes and inconsistencies.
Check for Inconsistencies
When I read Lies that Bind all the way through, I found that I changed Hattie’s mother’s hair color three times. This is why I say it is so important to outline. I didn’t write down anything about Hattie’s mother and ended up regretting it. I now have a short description written for her so this doesn’t happen again.
Make sure to check for other inconsistencies! Like facts about the character’s background or plot points.
Read it Out Loud
A great way to check for problems, particularly in dialogue, is to read your book out loud. I felt a little strange reading Lies that Bind out loud, especially with my toddler running around, but it worked. I found issues like stiff dialogue and typos I hag glossed over!
Compare Word Count and Genre
Lies that Bind is a contemporary young adult novel, so I should keep the book around 70,000 to 80,000 words. Make sure to do your research and match up your word count and genre. Are you writing a quick romance? It shouldn’t be 110,000 words! And a high fantasy novel shouldn’t be just over 60,000.
Peer Review/Beta Readers
This is incredibly important, especially for those who are tackling difficult topics. I wrote about mental illness, domestic abuse, and alcoholism in Lies that Bind. I had to be careful how I portrayed these characters and their struggles because doing it incorrectly could ruin the entire story. So, make sure to connect with beta readers or peer reviewers who have experience in the topics you’ve written about.
Questions to Ask Yourself
There are a lot of questions to ask yourself when you’re editing. I recommend going through your book multiple times, focusing on a different aspect of your book each time. For a list of detailed self-editing questions, check out Rachel Poli’s guide: 57 Questions To Ask When Editing Your Novel.
Is your book ready for an editor? Make sure to run through those questions by Rachel Poli!
|March 16, 2021||Which Route Should You Take: Self-Publishing or Traditional?|
|March 23, 2021||Why Does it Take So Long to Publish Traditionally?|
|March 30, 2021||How Long Does It Take to Self-Publish Your Novel?|
|April 6, 2021||Is Your Book Ready for an Editor?|
|April 13, 2021||Looking for an Editor? Ask Them These 10 Questions First|
|April 20, 2021||The 8 Questions I Ask Perspective Clients|
|April 27, 2021||Is Your Manuscript Agent-Ready? Use My Checklist to Make Sure|
|May 4, 2021||4 Tips to Creating a Mind-Blowing Query Letter|