How do you edit a book?

So I spent the week since I actually completed my book researching how to go about editing it. It’s more complicated than I thought. The most common advice seems to be to use a professional editor if you can afford it. (I can’t!). One website suggested that manuscripts need trimming by at least a third (so maybe I just delete every third word?), another suggested 4 stages of sending out the manuscript to different groups of readers with revision after each stage. It was all a bit confusing.

In the end I decided to do the following:

1) Do a spelling and grammar check in Word, including checking that place names etc. that I’ve invented have been spelled consistently.

2) Check and change some things I already know about. For example, I knew that I’d changed the name of one of the characters half way through.

3) Print it out, then read through out loud page by page to check for readability and anything else I notice.

4) Try to find someone to read it and get some feedback.

I’ve done the first two and I’m working in the third. I’m finding it slow. It took me about half an hour to read through 3 pages of A4. It really works though. Reading aloud really helps you pick up a clumsy sentence, a repeated word, or somewhere the meaning doesn’t quite come through.

What’s weird is that I expected to hate doing it but I’m actually having fun. 

Which is a good job because it’s going to take a while. But that’s ok. My thinking is that having spent two and a half years writing the thing, it’s worth spending some time getting it right!


8 thoughts on “How do you edit a book?”

  1. What about asking for some beginner editors to do your editing for free? Someone who is starting out in the field may want to add your work to their portfolio. I have not done that (used a paid editor), but it’s worth a shot.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. How about writing a blog with this request and posting it on Twitter as well? Ask people to spread the message. Also, perhaps google it and see if there are message boards on KDP on this topic?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I do number 3 several times. It’s surprising what your ear picks up on, that your eye misses. I also convert to ebook (I use the free Calibre program) and read it on my IPad. It has a different feel to a Word document. Good luck.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s