Good morning everyone!
As authors, our minds, days, and lives are often filled to the brim with a million different things from our daily lives that we push through and beat back to another day. Then comes our writing. For most of us, being a full-time writer is the dream, but until then we have to toil away with our regular jobs on top of our budding enterprise.
Let’s be honest, finishing writing and having our books published are among the biggest thrills we can experience. Along the way we’ve studied books and articles on how to write, had our manuscripts shredded by critique groups, and pummeled out any plot holes our beta readers pointed out to us before sending it to our editors. Unfortunately, there’s a step we missed.
As strange as it sounds, this is one of the most important steps. It’s been my experience that as much as beta readers and critique groups help, it’s up to us to read through it a couple of times to six as many mistakes as we can. From an editor’s point of view, the biggest reasons are simply to help and save our editor’s sanity.
Let me explain.
One of the phrases I can’t stand (I still use it at times, so go figure. Lol) is, “That’s why we pay editors.”
To me, that’s not entirely accurate. Editors are an important step in making our stories the best they can be, but they’re still human. If we send them a manuscript that’s riddled with errors from typos to capitalized words like This in the middle of sentences and other issues that aren’t as visible, we’re asking them to perform a great feat.
By going through our manuscripts and getting them as tight as possible, we can limit the time and effort our editors have to put into our work. Simply put, the sloppier work we hand them, the more they can miss and the more strain we put on them. I look at it like they’re bailing water out of a boat with a three foot hole in the side. No matter how hard they work, more water keeps coming in and they’ll never get it all.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should expect to catch everything. That’s impossible, especially considering how close we are to the project, but if we don’t put in the effort we’re only hurting ourselves in time and cost for the editors. One thing I like to tell people is to at least, please, run a spell and grammar check. If nothing else, it’ll usually catch hte and thst. At least, I hope so. If not, it may be time for an upgrade, if possible.
One thing to keep in mind is to try and stay as neutral when going through our books as possible and look at it as though we’re the reader. It’s not easy, but reading out loud is a great way to find the tongue twisters and odd phrases that sound great in our minds. Honestly, I can’t even count how many times I’ve tripped myself up and called myself all sorts of fun names. Lol
One of the most important things to remember is to be honest with ourselves and do the best we can. Despite how many claim otherwise, there are, and will never be, a perfectly edited book. People will always find fault, but as long as we’ve put in our best efforts we can hold our heads high and continue moving forward and learn. Why make it harder on ourselves and beat ourselves up?
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?