By the By Editing
You've finished your manuscript...
First off, you should totally take a second to appreciate what you’ve done! Finishing a manuscript is no joke and for that you should be incredibly proud.
But now it’s time to make sure it’s the absolute best story you can make it. Here are a few tips to help you get there:
Take a few days, weeks, or however much time you need to let your story marinate a little.
Get some readers! Have as many people as possible — mom, dad, sister, brother, wife, husband, friends, delivery person, co-workers — anyone who’ll read! Although some of these people might be biased (you’re their favorite person, right?), they’ll also be able to catch any typos or misspellings your brain might have corrected while you were reading through it. *Side tip: Read out loud! This helps slow your brain down a little, which helps catch those little spots!
To get a bit more unbiased response, find some beta readers. You can either pay for a beta reader (similar to a manuscript critique) or find someone through a writing group, either online or in-person. Beta readers can help with big picture issues such as plot holes and spotty character development.
After collecting feedback and deciding what to do with it (it’s your story, it’s up to you if you want to follow any reader’s advice), it’s time to start looking for an editor. It’s definitely possible to self-edit your work, but when you work with an editor you’re working with a trained professional whose only goal is to polish and refine your story to its highest potential.
Research! Editing isn’t always a one-shop stop. Not only are there different tiers of editing, but there can also be editors who focus on one type of editing or only work with certain genres. The different tiers are developmental (substantive), line editing, copyediting, and proofreading.