Writers are often drawn into the temptation of editing their own work. As a publishing consultant, I will tell you this can be a terrific idea… unless, of course, it’s not.
Am I being a little vague here? Allow me just a moment to explain my ideas on the topic of self-editing.
Your manuscript, whether it be a work of fiction or non-fiction, will go through a series of many edits before it is published. This is a reality for both traditionally published and self-publishing authors alike. Successful books are never released as the first draft.
I will use my writing process as an example. I usually start out by writing a rough draft freehand (yes, I still put pen to paper) which I eventually use to explore the broader story and its characters. This is something I write without real concern for where the book is going as a whole.
After I let the manuscript rest for a while, I then work through a slow process of refinement. This means writing new material while re-writing old. Gradually, whether through two or three passes, I come up with what I consider to be my first real finished draft of the book.
Each step after my initial rough draft is known around the publishing industry as “self-editing”. This is the author’s process of reading through their manuscript alone without the help of an editor, making editorial choices entirely based on their sense of the book.
What Can An Editor Do For My Novel?
After these passes, I eventually take my manuscript to an editor. I choose my content or line-editor very carefully. After the cover design, choosing the right editor is the most important step toward publishing success. I made my decision based on their experience, knowledge of the genre as well as familiarity with my writing. Once she gets through with my manuscript, I can be confident it is ready, save for a few bells and whistles, for its final phase, submission or publication.
Self-editing works for me, in part, because I have a great safety net. That is what your editor is. They act as a valuable safety net for your writing, making sure it is the best quality it can possibly be before it goes out into the world.
While self-editing works for me, it does not work for everyone. In order to successfully self-edit your novel, you need to have some confidence in your ability to honestly critique your own work. If you struggle to be honest with what works and does not, this is not for you. I cannot count the number of times I have consulted with new writers who are working through their third, fourth or even fifth drafts. They will tell me that the book has hardly grown from the first draft.
That is a lot of time cycling through with little results.
If you are stuck inside that vicious cycle of writing, self-editing, and re-writing, it may be time to bring in someone else. A publishing consultant can help you identify where best to focus your attention. In addition to a safety net, your publishing consultant or editor acts as a fresh set of eyes for your novel. A new, professional perspective ready to help you push through and get your manuscript off of your desk.
Self-editing can be an option for any writer. Just like any other writing and editing strategy though, it is one that requires a fair amount of caution. If you are confident in your work, or your story, and if you have a reliable editor in place, it can work very well.
If you would like to read more on the topic of publishing consultant services, check out these additional articles.
Free “How To Hire A Ghostwriter” eBook
I so adamantly believe that knowing how to conduct a ghostwriting interview is a bedrock of success that I wrote a book about it.
While this book doesn’t necessarily cover the use of a publishing consultant as this blog does, it does serve as a primer for a professional mentality with your writing.
If you would like a complimentary copy of How To Hire A Ghostwriter: Your Guide To Finding The Best Pro For Your Project all you have to do is click and download.
If you have read this book, like it, and found it helpful, please share it with some of your fellow writers and take a moment to review it either on GoodReads or Amazon.
How Do I Contact You As A Publishing Consultant?
If you are serious about hiring a fiction editor or having your book, screenplay or non-fiction story professionally written by a ghostwriter, or you need self-publishing help, please contact me via email, or call.
Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.