Coming to the end of your first book and preparing for printing is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time, especially since working on your first book you are likely to be constricted as to the types of help you can gather in order to perfect it. Editing, proofreading and finalising your book will most likely see you on your own, unless you have kind friends and family who will read it over for you.
Without breaking the bank, here are our tips for perfecting your book before you go to print.
- Don’t edit while writing. Of course, you can go back to correct a typing error or return to the beginning of a sentence to start it again, but if you are constantly going back to redraft full sentences or paragraphs then you’ll never get to the end. Your first draft is your first draft, go back and perfect it after.
- Read it all the way through once. Before starting to edit, make sure you’ve read it all of the way through, then you can get a real sense of where the chapters gel, where they need revision and what needs to be moved around, before you start chopping sentences everywhere.
- Take a break. It’s true that if you take your mind off something for long enough, then you can come back to it with a fresh mind. So if you stop editing for a few days and come back to it, you might find that you are much more efficient the second time around.
- Don’t rely on spellcheck. Yes, spell checking programmes when word processing are excellent, but they can also get things wrong. Just because it doesn’t tell you there’s no spelling error, doesn’t mean there’s no typo. And don’t listen to everything it says, either.
- Remember to cut. This doesn’t mean to cut everything, but a concise draft is better than a flowery draft. Once you’ve edited to the best of your ability, you could probably still cut between 5 and 10 percent, so do it.
- Don’t forget about the cover. Going to print means that every aspect of your book is perfect, so what about your cover? Make sure that the cover is interesting enough to be eye catching, but not too obscure that it detracts from the text.
- What comes first, the title or the content? You might have started writing with a title in mind, but now that you’re finished, does the title still match the content? Make sure your readers won’t be disappointed when they start reading, after the expectations that they’ve gained thanks to your title.
- Be critical, be analytical, be your own editor. If you are not critical with yourself, then nobody else will be. Ask yourself how good the story is, if it makes sense, if it’s compelling, if it flows, if you would read it. If you can trust friends and family to give you honest, constructive criticism them ask them to, but don’t rely on them alone.