If you’re an author, you’ve undoubtedly invested much time and effort into writing your manuscript. However, consider whether there are additional steps you can take to improve its quality.
Before diving in, let’s clarify the difference between editing and polishing. Editing involves:
- Revising the work to enhance its overall quality.
- Fixing grammatical errors and sentence structure.
- Ensuring consistency in plot and character.
On the other hand, polishing is the final stage, which involves fine-tuning the manuscript’s language, style, and presentation to give it a professional touch.
Here are ten tips for polishing your manuscript to perfection:
- Take a break before polishing. Put your manuscript aside for a few days or weeks, do something else to clear your mind, and return to your work with a fresh perspective.
- Read your manuscript out loud. This will help you catch errors and identify areas that need improvement.
- Focus on sentence structure and grammar. Ensure your sentences are clear and concise, and use proper grammar. Avoid run-on sentences and vary the length of your sentences to keep your writing engaging.
- Eliminate unnecessary words and phrases.
- Check for consistency and continuity. Ensure your characters’ names, physical descriptions, and personalities remain consistent throughout the book.
- Use beta readers for feedback. Choose people familiar with your genre and have experience reading and critiquing manuscripts.
- Hire a professional editor for a final review. Choose someone who specializes in your genre and has experience working with authors.
- Formatting and layout considerations. Ensure your manuscript is formatted correctly with consistent margins, font size, and spacing. Consider using headings and subheadings to break up long sections of text.
- Review your book blurb and marketing materials. Ensure they are error-free and present you and your book in the best possible light.
- Celebrate your accomplishment. Polishing your manuscript to perfection is a significant accomplishment. Treat yourself to something special, like a nice meal or a day trip, to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that went into it.
Once your manuscript is polished and ready for publication, it’s time to focus on the next steps in the publishing process. This may include finding a literary agent, submitting your manuscript to publishers, or self-publishing.
Remember that publishing can be challenging and time-consuming, but don’t give up. Keep refining your manuscript and your craft, and you will eventually achieve your goal of becoming a published author.