You got your crummy first draft completed. You resisted temptation and left it alone for a few days so the words had a chance to drift to the back of your mind.
You’re ready to pick up that stack of papers or open the folder(s) on your computer. What do you do first?
A major goal of editing is to increase the impact, clarity, and flow of your writing. Proofreading – checking your facts, your grammar and spelling, and the internal consistency of your book – supports the accuracy of your offering.
Most of us try to do everything at once. Unfortunately that usually isn’t fully effective. A lot depends on what you see when you look at print.
For some of us mistakes jump off the page. We can’t miss them. For phonetic spellers, everything looks right. They wouldn’t recognize a misspelled word if it stood on its head and shot off sparks. It just wouldn’t register.
What I suggest you do is start with a quick read. Fix the quick and easy things – misspelled words, missing words or letters, a comma that should have been a period – as you go. Make notes of any places that just don’t flow – you know something is wrong but you’re not sure what. Go back to these spots later.
If you are making corrections on the computer be sure to save regularly as you go.
Now go back and read more slowly. Compare what you have written to the notes you took during your first read through. Fix what you can. Decide what you want to do about any issues you can’t resolve. Take the time to improve the flow of your previous writing.
This is a good time to have someone other than yourself read through your book. A new set of eyes can see things you miss. A person less familiar with your topic may notice gaps in the material that could impact on how your reader is able to use your book.
It always amazes my clients when I discover they have left out a critical step in a process they are describing. They are so familiar with what they are presenting that they don’t realize they haven’t put it down on paper. One woman described on her sales page a book that would help you set up a business importing flowers from Central America.
When I read her book she had focused most her writing on the quality of the roses she had imported and the farming practices of the grower she worked with. She had a handful of ways to get customers but very little information about setting up a new business. Her information was interesting but didn’t fulfill the promises she made on her sales page. Together we added information to her book so it lived up to her promises.
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Do you need a second set of eyes to check your work? Let me partner with you as your Book Enchantress. It’s time to finish up your powerful gift to the Universe.