So, you’ve written a book, and that’s pretty exciting, right? It should be, because, well…writing a book is tough. Writing a good book is even tougher. According to the New York Times, 81 percent of Americans feel they have a book inside them waiting to come out. But with approximately 146,000 individuals working as writers of any kind in the US, less than half of one percent of the population are actually writing, and only a small fraction of those are writing novels.
So, you deserve to be excited.
If you want to publish this book, then there are steps to ensuring it is, in fact, publishable. One of those steps is editing. If you’ve heard the old adage Write drunk and edit sober, then you also know which part is the fun part. Most publishing professionals agree that in addition to committing a chunk of your time to reviewing your work and making changes, it is advisable to hire an outside source to complete at least some level of editing for you. It’s a small investment that’s worth its weight in gold.
There are essentially two types of editing to consider (not including the issue of proofreading): developmental editing and copyediting.
Developmental editing helps you find weak points in your manuscript. The big question here is Does your story work? For example, do the events progress in a logical or natural order, and does the storyline hold together tightly in a strong frame you have created for your overall narrative? A developmental editor will also tell you if your characters are authentic and complex enough to carry your plot and engage your readers. Readers do not have to like your characters, but they do need to be interested in them. Do your characters lack continuity? Do they feel one dimensional and caricaturized? Do all your characters even seem necessary? No fluff allowed in a well-written, intelligent story.
Developmental editing also concerns itself with point of view. Who is telling your story? Is s/he the best choice? Is the narration consistent? And through whose eyes do we see the story (which may or may not be the same character)? This kind of editor can help clarify any use of flashbacks so that your readers have a seamless reading experience as your action shifts in time. Are you revealing too much information too soon, when you should be holding back for dramatic effect? Pacing is critical to a well-told story, too; just as important as what happens, is how and when it happens.
Another important type of editing service you’ll need to seek out is copyediting. A quality copyeditor will be well-versed in the latest version of Chicago Manual of Style and will have Webster’s dictionary (or online version) at-hand. Though many authors are skilled at grammar, the in-depth knowledge necessary to create your book’s cleanest version requires a specific level of training. Expect a focused attack on your work. And yes, it will feel like an attack, but it’s all for the sake of this story you’ve created from your heart. These types of editors have a nose for sloppiness and slips and can separate themselves from the characters you love so much and from the story that is your story: tasks that writers cannot likely perform for themselves.
To inquire into these services and others aimed at making your book the best piece of work possible, visit me, Elizabeth Nunes, online today!