Friday, 20 May 2011

Pre-Edit, Edit of Urban Hunters

That’s where I’m at. A few of my friends in my writing group, Great Lakes Fellowship of Australian Writers, have kindly volunteered to edit my book. Editing is essential to the success of any book, be it traditionally published or self-published. Anyone who thinks they can skip this step is kidding themselves.
 Reviews are done by readers themselves these days, and they can and will be brutal to unedited, unprofessional books. This system is fantastic, and essential. Amazon has it down pat – buyers can add a review to any book they buy, using a five star system with plenty of room for a written review. The stars, prominently displayed right beside the image of your book, on your Amazon book page, give potential readers a quick heads-up on how good your book is. Follow the link for more details if you wish, and if I was considering buying a book, I would. Essentially it’s word of mouth marketing and there is nothing better, or worse, for your book. 
Ah editing – what a brain drain it is. Getting a first draft down of your story can be pretty quick and easy, exhilarating even, but going back and tidying it up, or editing it, can be mind-numbingly boring. And you never do it just once; you do it over and over and over again. And then by the time you’ve done it that many times, your writing has improved so much that you have to do it all over again. My brain hurts just thinking about it. But I have to say, it is worth it. The difference it makes never ceases to blow me away. The amount of times I’ve come across a sentence, or a paragraph that I thought was excellent, turned out to need a complete re-write upon a fresh look, or after being viewed through someone else’s eyes. It might be that I unknowingly slipped in a point of view change - a death blow to a readers flow. They get confused, trying to work out who is talking, whose head they are in. You wouldn’t believe how easily it happens. Just one seemingly insignificant word can do it. Or I’ve used the same strong word twice in one paragraph, or even twice on the one page. Seems ridiculous, I know, but these are the kinds of things that mean the difference between a good review and a bad one. It’s a harsh world, but everyone would be writing books if it was easy.
So edit I do. They say that no matter how good your manuscript is, a good editor will lift it to the next level. That rings loud and clear in my mind, so I’m fastidiously making my manuscript as good as it possibly can be, before I take the plunge and fork out the big bucks for a professional line-by-line edit. That’s why I’m grateful to my learned friends who have volunteered to take the time to do a pre-edit, edit.
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