The End. Most authors heave a sigh of relief when they type those two words. Sure, they’ll need to read through everything again, and they’d like to give their manuscript to a few friends to read. But the editor is going to be doing the heavy lifting from here on out, right?
The gritty truth is that revisions are when some of the most focused work begins for authors, too. Editing is one of the most intense periods of preparing a book for publication. The revisions you’ll make just before and just after your edit are like a tough climb for a mountain climber: technically challenging, physically grueling, and intellectually intimidating. Here’s why you should climb that mountain anyway and what you should prepare for along the way.
Preparing for your edit
Don’t waste your time hiring an editor for your first or even your second draft. You don’t want to spend that money, and your editor doesn’t want to take it. Really. The truth is, most authors I work with don’t consider their work ready for anyone else’s eyes until at least the third or fourth draft.
By all means, tuck your finished manuscript away safe on a backup drive or Dropbox and get yourself some sort of delectable treat to celebrate typing “The End.” Let that baby sit for a few weeks so you can read it again with fresh eyes. And then revise, revise, revise. Once you’ve revised until you can’t revise any more, workshop it, look for a critique group, or turn it over to some reliable beta readers.
How many drafts do you think that is? Right—that many. When you’ve reached the point where feedback isn’t turning up things you haven’t already considered, you’re finally ready to turn your manuscript over to your editor.
Processing your edits
Unless you’re getting the lightest and most tender of copyedits, expect another rush of intense work after your edit. Whether your editor sends you a complete edit to accept, reject, and revise on your own or whether you’ll be going another round with your editor after your review, you still need to read and consider each and every edit and comment.
Your editor will probably include some tips for using Track Changes to process your edited manuscript. I like to return edits to authors with a plan of attack tailored to their manuscript. You can expect revisions on a line edit to be much more demanding than simply clicking the Accept or Reject button over and over. You’ll be rewriting sentences, rethinking stylings, and making sentence- and paragraph-level decisions at every turn.
How long will all that take? Try timing how long it takes you to revise your sample edit from me, then multiply that out to cover your entire manuscript. If you’re a slow, methodical writer, give yourself a slow, methodical stretch of time to wrap up your revisions. This is the final polish—take time to make your book shine.
Is your manuscript ready for editing? Take a look at the services I offer, and let’s talk about how I can bring clarity to your manuscript.