Professional editing is essential to the success of you book. When writing your first draft your goal is to get it all down on paper. Next comes the revision process. This is where we read for story flow, catch inconstancies, develop characters, insert missing information, eliminate redundancy, tighten up word choice, and revise, revise and revise. Even after going through that process several times, there is still more revising to do.
Once you’ve written the book, you really need to get an expert’s opinion to help you improve it. An editor will be the best investment in your book. After all, you love what you’ve written, but there are so many tricks and techniques to writing that can improve the experience of the reader.
As part of our program (Miriam Laundry) our book received three professional edits. The first edit was a developmental edit. The goal is to help you improve the story concept, the plot, the characters, the pacing, the dialogue, and whatever the editor notices that needs to be improved. This edit takes a look at the big picture to help you revise your book. Your editor will return to you an annotated manuscript, a marked-up version of the original manuscript with specific suggestions for each issue, as well as an editorial report. Our story had a few holes and some areas needed further development.
Copy editing is the next step after you have addressed all of the concerns from your developmental edit. An editor will read your work again looking for word repetition or character inconsistencies. A copy editor brings your manuscript to a more professional level. A copy edit helps to improve clarity, consistency, and correctness. This second edit helped us to improve the clarity and consistency in our story.
Proofreading takes place before the book goes to print. Although most issues will have been resolved by the time the book is printed, proofreaders still scrutinize the text for anything that previous edits might have missed. Once they’re done, your proofreader will return a marked-up document for you to revise one final time. After you’ve made those changes, you should be just about ready to send your manuscript into printer. Our editor provided a final edit for us which included spelling and grammar checks.
What to look for in an editor
While we did not select our editor, we could not have asked for a better one. While there are a number of websites that discuss editing in more detail, most agree on the following:
- Look for someone who has experience as an editor.
- Ask for examples of published children’s books that they’ve edited.
- Ask for several testimonials from satisfied writers.
- Are they a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).
Our next step is to find an illustrator, but first I will be sharing another author interview with Candace Spizzirri and her book Fishing With Grandpa and Skye.
I am so glad you’re here and so grateful that I can share my writing journey with you. I believe that the world needs to hear your story and we all have at least one story.
I’m looking forward to helping in any way that I can. And speaking of helping — please leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about picture book writing.
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Enjoy your day!