I was very excited but nervous when I received my manuscript (MS) back from the editor last week.
You sit alone in the privacy of your mind and pour out your heart and soul onto the page when you are writing your first draft.
So when it comes to showing it to anyone, we writer’s can get a little shy and anxious about it!
After a few rounds of self-editing I gave my manuscript to the professional editor a few weeks back and braced myself mentally for what was to come. Here are a few ways to mentally prepare yourself for it.
- Know that a professional is looking at your book and that any suggestions they make is only to make your book better.
- Visualise your manuscript coming back with red pen corrections so that you are not shocked by the amount of changes they may suggest (and if it’s your first book there will be many changes!)
- Understand it is the editor’s job to highlight the weaker parts of the book so that they can be strengthened.
- Remember, the editor is on your side! They are there to help make your book better. They have seen many books come and go so they will have a good overview of the process and be able to share relevant words of wisdom and guidance
My Manuscript is Back- Now What Do I Do?
#1. Open the document and set aside time to just read and review the comments that the editor has made.
I suggest you make yourself a cup of tea and try to enjoy this process. This step is all about reviewing what changes they have suggested. The only thing you should do is review. Do not make any changes at all.
#2. The following day, or maybe a few days later, open the MS and start to make changes.
The time away from the MS gives your brain ‘processing time’ to consciously and subconsciously absorb and understand the proposed changes. You don’t want to rush any changes. Give yourself some time to mull it over. Half the magic of writing happens when you are away from your words! So give yourself some breathing space.
#3. You will probably have to do a few more rounds of editing before you hand it back to the editor.
For me this is broken down into the following:
- Step 1: Review changes made my editor and make relevant changes where appropriate (2 weeks)
- Step 2: Add in research, quotes, additional case studies where required (4-5 days)
- Step 3: Add introductions and closing remarks to each chapter. I intend to do this step in one reading so that I can better understand the flow of the book
At this point I will then hand back the MS to the editor so that she can:
- See which of her suggestions I have incorporated
- Review the changes I have made and the comments I have left for her (part of the structural / content review)
- Editor to perform line edit
At this stage, the editor may send back the MS to me if she had more changes. Then the above process would be repeated. Once we are both happy with the text, then it will go to a proofreader. At this stage, further changes to the MS are unlikely and the proof-reader will check for spelling, grammar and typo’s.
So I have around 2 more weeks to get this MS into shape and am around 30% of the way through.
Here are some more tips on how I am getting through this editing stage:
- Save your MS to a shared location (I use Dropbox)
- Track all your changes
- Add your comments in a different colour
- Acknowledge every comment made by the editor, whether or not you take on that particular suggestion
- Save your MS in multiple places. I have it on Dropbox as well as on my laptop and an external hard drive.
- Give yourself a break of 1-2 days after reviewing the editor’s comments before you start to make changes
- Don’t take any comments too personally!
- Remember, the editor is on your side. They want to make your book the best it can be. Listen to their comments but it is ultimately your choice as to whether you act on them. Use your own judgement.
- Aim to edit one chapter a day if time is constrained. Otherwise, try to do as much as you can in one go. This helps you to see the book in its whole totality and you can get a clearer idea of how the MS flows.
- And finally, try to enjoy the process and not take it too seriously!
Do you have any editing tips to share?