eBook writers all over the globe have one major complaint; editing and finding an agent is a nightmare once you complete your eBook. While there is an easy and rather widespread solution available out there for your eBook writing and publishing needs, the same cannot be said for editing.
Yes, there are many free online tools to choose from, but how do you know what to look for? Seasoned editors spend years in the field writing and reading to know exactly what to ‘edit out’, but even then, they struggle to edit their own work.
This is simply because you’re too close to what you’ve written. If you’ve had your eBook Ghostwritten, you might be able to find out mistakes, but finding errors in your own work can be harder than a jawbreaker frozen in liquid nitrogen.
Online tools will definitely help you root out grammatical mistakes, but they usually don’t take the form into account, i.e., the bigger picture. That’s where you need a human touch. From making sure the story adds up to keeping an eye on other elements of your eBook, you need a second eye to help you out.
However, we said editing your work is challenging, not impossible.
With a few calculated steps and clever tricks, it’s definitely possible. Here, we’ll discuss how you can save money on hiring an external editor and get away with it with these clever ways to edit your eBook in 2020.
So, let’s roll our sleeves up and polish your draft into a finished product!
1. Don’t Go at It in One Go
eBooks are nothing like an article. Dedication and planning to finish it is one thing, editing it is an entirely different beast altogether. A lot of work goes into editing an eBook – for example, an eBook writer’s editor has to go through a ghostwritten eBook at least 3 times just to be sure there are no major issues. Finetuning comes later on.
The first read takes care of story elements. Perhaps it was daytime in the previous paragraph and night in the next, while the story continued in daytime? A change of gender in between paragraphs is also not unheard of. When writing, the mind is faster than the fingers, so you’re bound to miss out on a few details.
The next run fixes any grammar-related issues. This is where you focus on commas, overall structure, formatting, and everything in between. In the third run, you’re merely going through the book to make sure it all makes sense, everything is at its place, and there are no plot-holes.
This is you focusing on the bigger picture instead of being a superhero and fixing everything in one go. Since you’re he writer, you’re going to find story-related issues every time to read through. Fight the urge to make changes every time.
2. Read Through Before Writing the Final Chapter
After plot holes, one prevalent mistake eBook writers make is that in all the excitement or perhaps forgetfulness, they end up including the same information over and over again. This may be in the form of you over explaining a premise, describing the protagonist’s clothes again and again, or simply delving in too deep or again and again into a case study.
This will only serve to dissuade your audience and pull them out of the ‘trance’ your eBook was originally supposed to put them in. This mistake is more common in writers who complete their manuscript over a period of many months or perhaps years.
Unless you’re writing something like War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
To avoid this, read through your eBook before committing to the final chapter. Don’t read it with the intention to edit – just to correct. Make or mark mistakes at this point to help you later on. Just don’t spend too much time so as to lose sight of your ending – or change it altogether.
3. Go Online!
There are some excellent online eBook editing software that you can use to make your eBook writing job easier. Here are some for your consideration;
- Grammarly: This is one of the most popular editing software that helps you structure sentences and correct grammatical mistakes.
- Hemingway App: Another great tool for checking grammar mistakes and sentence structure, the Hemingway App is a great tool with more free features that Grammarly.
- Custom Essay: Presented by UK writing, custom essay is yet another tool for checking grammar mistakes and plagiarism.
- Paper Writers: If you simply need an extra set of eyes to go through your manuscript, Paper Writers is a great community to share it with and get constructive feedback from.
There are many other online apps that you can choose as your weapon of choice, but all of them have one flaw; the only look at the structure of the content, not what’s within. In other words, remember what we discussed about going through your eBook again and again? These tools fail to identify those factors.
4. Choose Your Changes Wisely
As mentioned above, since you are the creator of your masterpiece, you’ll find changes every single time you go through your eBook. I’ve gone down that rabbit hole, and trust me, it’s not pretty. Just read through your book at first and list down changes. Don’t make any at this point (minor corrections are fine). Changes may include;
- Change the introduction (just don’t)
- Change the ending
- Swap chapters
- Merge chapters
- Delete a chapter (be very careful)
Once you’ve listed down all your changes, select three or found and work on them.
5. Take a Breather
It is natural to be eager to publish your masterpiece once you’re done compiling it. Waiting a while would seem counterproductive, and when doing so, every bone in your body might urge you to reconsider. However, put aside your manuscript and stick to your plan.
Leave it at least a week before you pick it again since it will give you enough time to forget some tiny details here and there. When you’ve written anything freshly, a part of it remains in your brain, which leads to you skimming over what you’ve written. Many times, mistakes get past because of this.
Distance gives eBook writers perspective – something you are going to need when editing your eBook. Just take a breather, relax, and then get back into it.
6. Print Your eBook
Despite the advancements of technology and how far we’ve come in terms of books, educational, non-fiction, fiction, and otherwise, nothing beats the old pen and paper when it comes to editing. Yes, many eBook editors still use Microsoft Word for writing and editing, but they aren’t editing their work, are they?
Printing your eBook out gives you a “material” form of your book – something that you can use to highlight typos and other mistakes. We’re saying this from experience, printing a book makes the mistakes jump out of the paper.
Besides, there’s a particular joy of circling or highlighting mistakes on paper that even the track changes feature on Word doesn’t give. That satisfaction is something that keeps you going long after the ordinary editor (on a laptop) may give up.
7. Crutch Words – Get Rid of Them
Just as when people talk, they have a particular word they use a lot, writers have a crutch word that they use again and again – even when there’s no need to. Give your book a read and look for such words.
For example, J. K. Rowling used the world “nasty” quite often in her books. And of course, the most common word in her books is “Harry.” She used the name even when there was no need to. Try finding your crutch word and get rid of it.
You wouldn’t want your book to be remember by something like “You’re a wizard, Harry!” Do you?
6. Edit –But Do Not Over Edit
Writing without editing is like cooking without salt. You can get published and perhaps even sell without getting your book edited, but you might not sell well. Your book is bound to be filled with typos and story issues which would break the readers’ flow, hampering your endeavors towards becoming a best-seller.
However, too editing too much is just as dangerous as you will start seeing issues where there aren’t any. That happens when you sit too long on your manuscript, finding flaws in everything. Even the story idea itself!
The grass is always greener on the other side, and as you sit on your manuscript too long, you’ll start comparing your script to others – which is never a good idea.
There’s a difference between editing and proofreading. Where you might be able to easily proofread your work, editing might be a bit more complicated. You’re close to your book, so you might have problems letting go of some aspects of your story, which you think are vital but might not be adding too much towards story progression.
While possible, it isn’t recommended to edit your own work. Asking a friend or hiring a professional eBook writing service to help you edit your manuscript can go a long way in ensuring that your eBook gets shapes just as you envision it while keeping in mind what the industry demands.
If you have any questions about the editing process or simply want to share your thoughts with us, let us know down in the comments. We’d love to hear your ideas on editing your own eBook!
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