This post is an excerpt from our Self Publishing Guide for Indian Market. If you have not, you may want to read the following post in this series before starting on this one
You have finally finished your book and are dying to see it in print. Since you have decided to self publish, nobody prevents you from going ahead and printing copies of your book. But hang on, there are a few more tasks to be done, decisions to be taken before you can see the birth of your creation. As they say, haste makes waste.
Step 1-Finalise the content. You should not write a book and forget about revisiting it. You need to go through the manuscript in minute details and revise it if required. In the initial excitement of having completed the book, authors tend to overlook checking for mistakes in writing style.
Remember, no matter how talented a writer you are, it always helps to have another person look over the entire book. The greatest writers in the world have had their work ruthlessly edited. Editing does not mean your book has to lose its style/flavour. As a self publisher, you retain the right of final judgement on anything.
The editing options available to an independent author are
- Professional editor.This is the costliest option. However, it will ensure that you get an unbiased professional look at your work from a third person’s perspective.
- Editing by friend/acquaintance. You could approach a friend with good language skills to go over the manuscript and do a frank, ruthless critique.
- Self editing. The third, option is to go over the manuscript yourself for spotting problems. This is the least you must do. Remember, errors can be spotted more easily if you review your manuscript after a gap – say, a couple of weeks.
General editing checklist. There are certain common mistakes we tend to commit in our writing.
- Getting repetitive. Repetition – of a sentence or words or ideas – can be used as a tool to emphasise a point or an idea, but beyond a limit, it becomes counter productive.
- Narration, flow and writing style. The book should be consistent. The storytelling should not be disjointed or abrupt. The tense and narrator’s person should be consistent. The best writers break many rules, but they know the rules like the back of their hand before that.
- Contradictions. Care must be taken to ensure that the characters/information/incidents mentioned do not contradict each other in different parts of the manuscript.
- Readability. You need to ensure that the sentences are lucid and readable – not too long or complex.
- Clarity of narration. While editing, emphasis needs to be laid on checking that the narration is clear and conveys the ideas or description clearly. Check if certain portions need to be rewritten to improve clarity and narration.
- Flow of the book. The overall flow of the book needs to be logical. Check if the organisation of the chapters is fine or if it needs to be rearranged.
- Grammatical errors. Last, but not the least, the language needs to be grammatically correct. Sentence construction, prepositions and articles, punctuation, verbs, tenses, spellings – everything. Nothing will be a bigger turn-off for a potential reader than spotting a grammatical mistake in a book.