How to Edit Your Book

With some help from David Gaughran ‘Let’s get Digital’

So, you’ve finished your book…

CONGRATULATIONS. That’s no small thing. Not many people actually finish a first draft of the book they’ve been brewing and writing over X months or years so WELL DONE!

Now you need to get your book edited.

It’s really important that your book is edited so it’s the best version it can possibly be. A poorly edited book does your reputation as an author no good, not to mention that it helps reinforce all those negative stereotypes about self-published authors (and none of us want that)

A professional editor is best but can be expensive. Some writers decide to pay for a detailed manuscript appraisal but, as this can cost around £500, it’s out of my league I’m afraid.

At the very least:

  1. Self-edit your first draft. There are good books that will help you. I like ‘Self-Editing for Fiction Writers’ by Renni Browne
  2. Send your second draft out to a few beta readers for a content edit. Choose people who will give you honest constructive feedback. Ask them to focus on particular things – does the plot work? Where does it drag? Are the characters consistent? I belong to an excellent writing group and we meet once a fortnight to give feedback to each other on these sorts of things.
  3. Find a copy editor. This is likely to be my first big financial outlay on my road to self-publication. You need someone who will be picky on the grammar. There are lots of copy editors out there and it’s easy to come unstuck. Make sure you contact them and agree their editing role. Ask for a sample edit of 1000 words, you’ll have to pay but it’s important that you and your editor can work together. Don’t pay the hole fee upfront. There are sites online where you can find an editor like Reedsy or but check their reviews. Word of mouth is probably the best recommendation.

Good luck.

I’ll let you know how my editing is going. Please do the same.

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