April 21, 2024

How to Start Your Self-Editing Process for First-Time Authors

You might have completed the first draft of your manuscript, which means that you are excited about having reached a crucial milestone in your writing career. Now you have to edit your book and return to your novel – this feeling might loom over you, which can also be intimidating.

Nonetheless, before you proceed to assess your manuscript through proofreading software, you will want to self-edit because self-editing is a crucial stage before you even pass your book on to a professional editor.

Self-editing is about shaping what you have in your first draft to make it workable and remembering and sort of narrowing your focus to assess what you love about your book and what your book really needs in the bigger picture.

You will want to think about self-editing as a way of revising or revisiting and seeing your manuscript again. For the self-editing process, you will be considering your manuscript with a pair of fresh eyes to see what is working and what is not working in a big-picture sense.

You have to tune in with your inner self while self-editing and listen to yourself while taking the time to revisit your manuscript.

Write a Marketing Copy

At this point, you are probably confused, and rightfully so. You might have no marketing experience – whatsoever – and you might not even be using any of the material that you write to promote your book.

But writing your marketing copy is a crucial step because it helps you step away from your actual manuscript to write and focus on your writing skills other than your actual manuscript.

It also helps you narrow down your focus even more, to remember what it is that is so compelling about your book. You will also find out what you really want your readers to know about your book, and then you can use this knowledge during self-editing to assess whether or not that comes across on the page.

So, essentially, what we are referring to here is the jacket material that comes on the back cover, blurb, and any kind of elevator pitch that you would be using in a proposal or on a website. Your marketing copy could basically be anything that you want to and need to communicate about your book to motivate and compel readers to pick it up.

Of course, writing this copy doesn’t necessarily mean that this will be the flap copy that you will be using – you can call off the entire thing.

You will want to look at it as a writing exercise to focus on what you are trying to accomplish in the book and the potential themes you want to explore, along with all the other big-picture elements, to ensure that everything is in place.

You will be using the marketing copy to return to the vision, which is also the heart of your book. With that said, you will want to write your marketing copy as an essential step before proceeding to turn to your manuscript and actually start the self-editing process.

While writing the material copy, you might discover that you need to go in a completely different direction in one or a few areas of your book.

Get Genuinely Curious about Your Manuscript

For your first draft, you will have blind spots in your story that a professional editor will pinpoint when they hand over your manuscript. At the end of the day, when it comes to self-editing and shaping your novel after you have completed your first draft – you will really have to trust your guts.

There are moments and scenes in the plot, including pieces of character development that might not sit right with you. Your gut feelings will tell you that something is off in the plot while you are going through it.

Now, when your gut feelings tell you that something is off, you will want to get really curious about it while looking at it closely. Perhaps – at this point – you don’t really know how to fix it, but you will know that something is off.

Maybe a character isn’t coming to life on the page as they did in your head while you were writing the story. The essential thing that you will want to do is to lean into those things and rely on your inner senses that something is lagging, which is why something needs to be done about it.

Also, if you notice some sort of awkwardness related to dialogue – you will want to search the internet or ask for some other resources on dialogue. You can find numerous resources online, such as podcasts, articles, and research papers about specific storytelling techniques.

During self-editing, you will want to focus on honing your craft and improving your writing. You will want to reach out to other authors or ask people in your writing community about how they handled certain storytelling techniques and what you could do to fix the problem.

Subsequently, you will want to go into your revision with all of the different resources that are at your disposal. If you want to be an efficient writer, you will want to write and keep writing until you become better and better.

You will also want to focus on researching and learning from other authors about what they did to improve their manuscripts before sending them out to a professional editor.

By doing your research and asking professional experts, you will certainly come across some of the best tools and resources that will not only help you improve your manuscript but also get better at every manuscript that you will be working on during your professional writing career.

The Takeaway

As a writer, you will want to understand the importance of self-editing your manuscript before sending it out to a professional editor and proofreader. Self-editing can help you hone your craft and assess your weaknesses in the different areas of your writing, such as dialogue, or you might have the weakness of rushing through important scenes.

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