Once your manuscript is completed, the next step is to make sure your manuscript is ready for publishing. Editing is the process of cleaning up your manuscript by checking for misspelled words, incorrect words (“their” in place of “there” and so on), punctuation errors, and to a lesser extent, grammatical issues. This type of editing in known as proofreading. Other types of editing are copy editing (checking for proper word usage, repetition, and a closer look at grammatical problems), and style editing. Style editing is an in-depth look at the overall structure of the text. It can include a reorganization of paragraphs, adding, removing, or rewriting sentences.
In most cases, a manuscript will need the less intensive proofread. If you feel your manuscript requires either copy editing, or style editing, we recommend contacting a professional editor. Attempting to reorganize, or re-write your own manuscript can lead to problems such as “making changes for changes sake”. This rarely works well.
Text is grouped into paragraphs to make the text more easily readable. Text is divided based on the topic or idea within the paragraph. When a new thought is introduced, or a new plot development is introduced, a new paragraph should be started. Although it is often said that a paragraph must be at least 3 sentences in length, a paragraph can contain as little as a single word.
The following are the most common items to look for in your manuscript:
The use of “spell check” can minimize the occurrence of misspelled words, but it will not catch punctuation issues, or the use of incorrect words. The following are a few tips used to help find these types of errors in your manuscript:
While the writer is usually the person who will proofread their manuscript, quite often a family member or friend is asked to do the final proofread before a book is submitted for printing. This is often a good idea as it is usually difficult for the writer to uncover their own mistakes. Another option is to hire a qualified student from a local community college or university to provide this service. A third option is to hire a professional proofreader. Although we do not provide a proofreading service, we would be pleased to recommend a qualified proofreader if this is your preference.