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BookEditing

 

 

Earlier this year I hired an editor from My Two Cents Editing to help me with my middle grade manuscript.  There were months of waiting and biting fingernails.  When I did receive my manuscript back with the editorial comments and revision suggestions, I saw that this was the best thing to help my manuscript move into the final stages.  I know some writers feel that critique groups are where we can get help for free.  But in my experience the saying “you get what you paid for” is exactly what I got with critique groups.  Now there are good critiques too.  But an editor will see more than just the writing style and voice.  They see the plot, character development, dialogue, pacing and structure of the manuscript. Other writers are not paid to see all of these things.  They are critiquing your work for free.  Plus other writers are more interested in what their work sounds like to everyone else.

For the last few months I have gone through the critique I received from the editor and I have been revising like crazy.  The final process to any manuscript is to check grammar and punctuation. After this the manuscript is polished into a beautiful piece of work.  Then it is time again to have friends to read this new masterpiece and hope they are as excited about reading it again as you are. Now I am revising my query letters and plan to participate in #Pitchwars.

If anyone is at the stage where they cannot decide if their critique group is working for them then branch out and try something new.  For me it was getting an editor. You can find editors on http://www.the-efa.org .  Also look for editors through Writers Digest publications.  There are great people who want to help writers take their work to the next level. Don’t you think it’s time your work shined?

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At the last writer’s conference I had received some feedback on a manuscript from an editor from HarperCollins.  She gave me more than a page of great insight to help me write the best picture book out there.  As I sat in the conference reading her notes the lady next to me said, “Did you get any critiques back?”  I answered ‘yes’.  She then wanted to know if the critique I received was nice also.  So I let her read mine and she said, “This is really good.”  We talked about where we were in our careers and where we wanted to be in the future.  I found that I could talk to her like a comrade in arms.  We both loved the conference and felt it was empowering and had a lot of great information.

When I went to my critque group the others in the group read the critique and there were words said like “this is golden” and “oh my gosh” and so on.  I knew that the critique was good but I thought everyone at the conference was just being nice.  But now I know that these words of encouragement from the editor were more than just words.

So I took the advice of the editor and tweaked just a few parts in the picture book manuscript.  Now it is so polished it could be the sword “Sting”.  I just knew that I could send it somewhere and get it published.

Well I sent it to HarperCollins and recieved a very useful rejection letter from an editor there.  It hurt a little more than the form or generic rejections I have received in the past.  But I see now that everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Instead of getting upset I have deceided to put all my energy into finding the right avenue to have my picture book published.  Whether that be traditional or independent.

The world is changing and we are not seperated by countries or bodies of water.  Technology has made the world we “live in a planetary civilization”.  (p. 459, Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder)  Becoming published is easier than it has ever been before and the time is right for anyone to get their work out there.  People all over the world can buy e-books a lot easier than print.

So I am taking my writing to the next phase, and like someone told me recently to “just publish it.”  So keep an eye out for a children’s book with my name on it.

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Tell me what you think of the publishing industry?

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Have you ever wished you could edit your manuscript like a pro?  Well who doesn’t?  I have been reading some editing tricks and there are many out there.  Here are a few that some authors have shared:

1.  Try looking at your manuscript from an objective point of view.  (This is not so easy because this is your baby after all!)  But if you look at your novel like a publisher would then you will likely see what they do.  Even if you have had friends or family members read your book and have given you excellent reviews they are all biased.  Only because they know you and like you already.  A stranger reading your novel for the first time is getting to know you through your writing.  Your voice needs to be unique and not annoying. “The writer’s voice sells books. You don’t get there by selling one manuscript. It takes a lot of writing to find your rhythm. Steve sees glimpses of this in beginning manuscripts.” Read more: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/11/14/editing-novel-steve-parolini/

2. Track your changes to the manuscript so if you don’t like the new changes then you can easily revert back to the original.  “With a huge manuscript, it’s so important to see the changes in process, and to be consistent. Using the “Edit” and “Find” tabs, I can quickly find a key phrase I’m looking for, or a character’s name, and edit from there.  If your changes are major, your manuscript’s tracked edits may end up being more confusing than helpful.  What I’m doing with DRAWN, since my revisions revolve around a few very different issues, is I tackle one type of revision at a time.” – author, Maria Lamba – http://marielamba.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/tricks-for-editing-your-novel/    Maria Lamba gives some great advice in her post on editing and she was generous in her sharing her ideas.

3.  Read your novel backwards.  Okay this might sound weird but you get a different feel of the writing.  You might find mistakes with grammar and style.  There could even be inconsistencies with a character or the plot. “This stuff is important because you want your plot to make sense logically to  the reader, your characters need to stand out from one another and the  characters’ dialogue needs to be appropriate and distinct; you don’t want all  your characters to talk exactly the same because it’s boring to the reader.”
Read more:  http://writinghood.com/writing/basic-tips-for-editing-your-novel/#ixzz1iKCfwi9f

4. Take some time away from editing and give your self a break.  Sometimes having time to think on things helps you find any loose ends when you pick it up again to edit. “Can an edit ever be finished? A book can be considered unfinished forever and you can continue making changes over and over again. But at some point the writer/publisher must decide that it is done. There is a process through rewrites, editing, proof reading, beta readers, line edit, copy edit etc but eventually it has to be put out there.” http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/11/14/editing-novel-steve-parolini/

Hopefully this gives you an idea on how important it is to edit before you pitch your idea to an agent/publisher.  I know when I have received a rejection letter from an agent it wasn’t until I read my query letter I understood why.  I had written some things that were a big turn off  to this agent.  Not offensive.  But something she felt would not fit in the category for which I was writing.  It is good to look at everything with a critical eye.  Because you can bet that someone else you sent it to is.

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