Self-Editing Tips

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Have you written a great story but see that it needs some improvement before you publish it for the world to see?

Writing a great story is hard work. It requires time. The best writers continually study the writing craft by reading great books about writing and by attending writing conferences either in person or online. This enables a writer to keep up-to-date on any changes in the writing world as far as writing styles, suggested rules, and what agents and publishers are looking for.

“But I’m an indie author,” you may say, and many indie authors think they can do anything they want. They don’t have to follow rules or try to please anyone with their writing except themselves.

However, indie authors also want to sell books, so if they aren’t considering an audience, how will they sell their books?

Hence the need for not only studying the craft of writing, but also, the need for editing your work yourself, as well as hiring a professional editor.

“Professional editors are expensive! I don’t have that kind of money,” you may protest.

That is why I am going to write some articles to help you do a good job of writing as well as self-editing before seeking a professional editor. Granted, there are expensive editors out there–expensive because they charge so much per word or per page, thus including the properly written words and pages in your manuscript. However, I, the Thrifty Editor, charge per hour, which saves a self-edited writer money.

How? Because if you can get your manuscript in good technical shape by finding the majority of the typos, spelling and grammar problems, and usage of the wrong word in a sentence, you’ll save the professional editor a lot of time. Therefore, if that editor charges by the hour, it will cost you less money. Take me, the Thrifty Editor, for example; I charge by the hour, which saves a self-edited writer money. I only have to stop reading when I find errors I need to correct. The less errors and stopping I do, the faster I complete the job, thus saving you money.

Now you say, “Tell me more.”

Okay, I will. Here are my suggestions for self-editing upon completing your manuscript:

  1. Set your manuscript aside for at least two weeks, a month is even better. Then when you pick it up again, you will approach it with fresh eyes.
  2. Now, when you pick it up. Read it out loud. Most often, you will find many errors while reading out loud because you will be able to hear if a sentence includes a misused word or if the sentence sounds awkward and needs to be tweaked.
  3. Also, try not to read too quickly. As the writer of the story, you know what you want it to say, but as you were writing, your mind was probably moving faster than your fingers were writing or typing. This is where typos and misspellings happen. Therefore, if you read slowly and carefully and look at each and every word, you can catch most of your typos and misspellings on your own. You may even have used a proper spelling but have the wrong word and so your “spell check” feature won’t catch it, (i.e. you meant to use there but mistakenly typed their).
  4. Last, but not least, do your best to know as much proper grammar as possible. Read a book about grammar or articles about proper word usage, especially words that are most commonly misused, like lie and laid. This will help you avoid grammatical errors.

Next time, I’ll talk about bigger writing issues and how to find them.

2 thoughts on “Self-Editing Tips

  1. You have addressed a very important topic. I’ve heard readers complain about how indie authors’ books tend to lack editing. (Not all indie books. But, unfortunately, too many.) And how readers then avoid books written by indie authors. Editing is a valuable took and a necessary part of any writer’s arsenal. Thanks!


    • You’re welcome, Chris! I have heard many of those same comments. I have also heard many indie authors say they can’t afford a professional editor. That is why I decided to post some articles, starting with this one, that can help them edit their own work to the best of their ability, while also letting them know that I am a different kind of editor who wants to help them improve their work and save money. And, yes, I do hope these kinds of posts land me some new editing clients.


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