Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to edit yourself into print. Yes, that is the title of a book by Renni Browne and Dave King. A book I might add, that I ordered in part out of curiosity and in part to see if I could truly put out a polished book without the aid of a professional editor. Final answer? A big whopping ‘Don’t Do It’! I’ll return to the book, but first let me go back…
I originally didn’t use an editor. I wondered at the expense and whether or not I would be getting enough of a return on sales to warrant shelling out a couple grand (give or take a lot) on an editor. I looked into a few, but I wasn’t just after skill - I needed a personality that worked well with mine. I was looking for a long-term and loyal editor-author relationship. Finally I found an editor, or better she found me through an interview I did. I had a desperate desire for an editor with whom I could work, and not want to strangle because they demolished my voice and everything real about my book. After she completed a sample edit for me and we conversed a few times via email, I knew this one was a keeper.
It turned out that I spent far more time attempting to self-edit, and my time is extremely valuable. I was a top-notch English student in high school and university. I aced the exams and wrote stellar papers. So no one was more surprised than me, when ten years later, that stellar English student was now only mediocre. It was then and there that I knew no author, no matter how adept at the written word, should be without an editor. It was a long hard lesson on a winding and confusing literary road to take, but I learned enough from the process to become a better writer.
Back to the book! Would I recommend reading it? Yes! Why you ask? It can help an author to improve their writing because grammar and spellcheck on your computer just won’t cut it. I especially like the chapter titled Sophistication where it mentions phrases used by hack writers (I’ve learned the error of my ways). I also enjoyed the section titled Once is Usually Enough. As a whole, the book is an easy read and one that any author could easily understand (or should understand).
So what’s my final take on self-editing? Do it! Wait, didn’t I just explain that an author shouldn’t do it? No! Authors should complete a self-edit to the best of their ability before it goes off to the professional editor.
1. DO find an editor who is not only skilled (make sure they prove their ability), but they should also be someone with whom you can work easily. Keep it as stress-free as possible.
2. DON’T rely on your own skills, no matter how many books you’ve read, for the final product. If you can’t afford an editor and you have no choice but to self-edit your first book or two, work with critique partners, read the editing books, work with reviewers and read and reread your manuscript until it’s the best you can possibly make it. But word to the wise—wait until you can hire a professional.
3. DO give yourself enough time to finish the manuscript and have it off to the editor in order to meet your deadlines (learned this one the hard way). Remember that you need time for rewrites when it comes back with all the pretty red markups.
4. DON’T shrug off the editor’s suggestions if those edits can make your book better. On the flip side, don’t just make the edited changes without reading everything through.
5. DO have fun. What we authors do should be fun or it’s not worth it.
Guest post by MK McClintock. MK McClintock was born on the west coast, but after less than eight years she left with her family to the Rocky Mountains. After more adventures around the country, business-college and culinary school, MK McClintock found a place to call home in Montana.
Over the years MK McClintock traveled the country and visited magnificent
dreams of a time when life was simpler, the land rougher and the journey more
rewarding. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on
adventure, MK McClintock still calls Scotland
MK McClintock is also the author of Gallagher's Pride, the first of her Montana Gallagher Series and Alaina Claiborne, the first of her British Agent novels.
Formats: Paperback and Kindle
Publishing Trappers Peak
Release Date: August 1, 2012
MK McClintock Website: http://www.mkmcclintock.com
Official Blog: http://mkmcclintock.blogspot.com
Goodreads Profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5438837.M_K_McClintock
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/mkmcclintock
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/MKMcClintockMT or @MKMcClintockMT
MK will be awarding an ebook copy of the first book of the series (Gallagher’s Pride) to one random commenter at every stop and a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour. She'll also award a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn host from her tour.
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9d9ae918/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway
I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/05/virtual-book-tour-gallaghers-hope-by-mk.html