Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Importance of Editing Your Book BEFORE Publication

Filed under: Author Articles,Book Editing — Larry James @ 7:00 am

When text has been rewritten and “reread” many times, the human brain “fills in the blanks” and sees what it expects to see. For this reason, the fresh eyes of an editor can be a real benefit for every book. When you edit your own work, typos will still slip through. Proofreading your book is one of the most important steps in self-publishing.

Text that is perfectly clear to the author may be less so to someone who is reading it for the first time. By revising over and over and proofreading over and over, you may find mistakes you didn’t notice before. Check and double-check. After proofreading, put your work down for a day and check it again later. Things you missed one day you will notice the next. You will always read your own words in the way that you thought you wrote them, but another person may well read them differently.

proofreading2When you do your own editing, read your book out aloud. This is a procedure that is followed by a large number of professional book editors and proofreaders, because they want to hear what the sentence sounds like, rather than what it looks like on paper. Not only are you using your hearing faculty, but you are also using your sight to identify potential mistakes in the manuscript. The process of editing can be rather time-consuming and challenging. AND you should never neglect it.

Next. . . Hiring an experienced editor, rather than a friend or relative who happens to be an English teacher, is money well spent. Friends have a tendency to be less critical than is helpful.

It is very wise that a budget for editing must be included in your overall marketing plan. No one gets it right on the first time. Editing is necessary because clear and incisive communication is the key to successful publishing and advertising, polishing the writing and improving presentation. When fresh eyes looks at your book, it may help catch some grammatical errors you have thus far missed. It is much harder to detect mistakes in your own writing than in someone else’s.

There’s much more to editing a book than fixing the grammar.

A good editor will polish your words without changing your style, and help your book to be the very best it can be, one that will stand up to the tough scrutiny of distributors, booksellers, and librarians. Professional editors are trained to put their own personal feelings aside and focus on enhancing your work.

Sloppy sentences, surface errors, misused punctuation, wordiness, and faulty use of tenses – all these can undermine the effectiveness of your writing. Errors distract the reader considerably, diminishing the effectiveness of your writing.

Here are a few things that editors look for:

• Typographical Errors
• Grammatical Mistakes
• Run-On Sentences
• Punctuation & Quotation Marks
• Subject-Verb Disagreements
• Sentence Fragments and Lengths
• Spelling
• Apostrophes
• Comma Usage and Splices
• Capitalization
• Tenses
• Structure and Theme
• Organization
• Audience Appropriateness

While spell checkers and grammar checkers can be handy tools, don’t rely on them as your only means of proofreading. They do not catch everything. You should also look at the usage of apostrophes and contractions while proofreading. There is a big difference between “its” and “it’s.” Lots of people make mistakes between “they’re,” “their” and “there.”

“Editing is one of the absolute factors that will influence your book sales. The degree to which you personally edit your thoughts and writing, combined with the degree to which you invest in professional editing will ultimately play a large role in developing reader comfort. A great edit will not ensure your book sells, but it will definitely eliminate one of the largest potential detractors that might prevent book sales.” ~ Sherrie Wilkolaski

The process of editing and proofreading ensures that your finished written document is free from grammatical and spelling errors, and is the final step that must be taken before any document is to be considered complete. Your work must be polished and fine tuned so that it shines and strikes a chord with readers. It is wise for authors and publishers alike to solicit the help of professional editors and proofreaders before publishing your book.

The object of your book is to hold the reader’s attention; this will happen when the reader isn’t jumping over errors and pausing at mistakes as they try to comprehend what you are saying. An editor found 110 corrections that needed to be made in one of my books “after” it was published and thousands of copies were sold after my appearance on ABC TV’s “The View” after I was interviewed by Barbara Walters. Lesson learned!

You should always view all the proofs after editing, and can make further additions or alterations before a final proof is accepted. Even after you have hired an editor and they have given you their critique, you should then re-check everything yourself.

Bonus Articles:Editing Tip for Writers
What is the Difference Between Copy Editing and Proofreading?” by James Hamilton

Book Recomendation:The Elements of Style” by William Strunk & E. B. White

Thank you to Michele DeFilipp for her contribution to this article.


Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at:

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