So you finished writing a story and are ready to make a manuscript to submit to publishing houses, or maybe you want to go the self-publishing path. Where to start and what to do? It’s overwhelming without a doubt. I have cried and gotten angry. Have asked myself why am I doing this? The simple answer is that I love to write, the more complicated one includes stuff like I have a mid-life crisis (not true), don’t have enough friends (definitely not true) and that I enjoy challenges and like taking up complicated projects (absolutely true).
I made a checklist in my BuJo that I use when editing a book. How many draft versions you end up with is up to you, but I have found I end up with about seven.
- 1. the original: grammar and spelling mistakes in all their glory
2. macro edits: the moment to fix plot holes and refine your characters (and probably where Shawn became Sean – see post No. 1)
3. line edits: the painful draft, the one where you have to read each line individually to see if it flows well, look for redundancies and consistency, and make your verbs stronger
4. copy edit: this is the one where I recommend using a tool like ProWritingAid and having a grammar knowledgeable friend on call in case you doubt. My dear friend and fellow author Devin Harbison probably hates me by now, but loves me too much to tell it to my face. He has been a great help and has saved me tons of time (do you sit on a chair or in a chair?) by coming to my rescue on SnapChat.
5. print proof: it is curious how you don’t see mistakes until you have the printed proof in your hands. I feel as if I’m stabbing my book with a red pen marking all the stuff I didn’t see in my Word file, such as a curly quote mark when I use straight ones all over the book, widow sentences at the end of a page, a weird space between two words, etc.
6. final: your finished baby, ready to be shared with the world
7. final naked: the same as final, but stripped of fancy styling and with added navigation marks for easy reading as e-book version
I also make notes on the look and feel for the cover of the book, but will talk about that in the next post.