These days, anyone can publish anything. You can blog every day about any topic, you can self-publish an e-book on Amazon and other platforms and you don’t have to wait to get noticed by a publishing house to publish your novel in the traditional manner. You might even get lucky and get a deal with a publishing house after you’ve self-published on Amazon. There are already several stories out there of authors who got noticed by big publishing houses after they had self-published their novel as an e-book. It might seem like all you have to do to be successful is write your novel, polish it and send it out into the world. But the truth is that there are plenty, there are thousands of e-books that are self-published on Amazon, and their number increases every day. That minimizes the chances of you getting noticed just because you’ve self-published a novel.
Self-publishing is not a novelty, and a large number of the e-books that are self-published are not edited properly, and if that e-book was to find its way onto an editor’s desk of a major publishing house, it would probably get rejected. You need several sessions of editing to achieve the perfect manuscript that is ready to be published. Below, you will find several things to look out for and tips on how to make your manuscript the best version of itself.
1. Focus on tight writing
A manuscript can always be perfected – even when you think that ten re-reads and edits means you’ve caught every mistake, every little detail and improved upon it. You probably haven’t. However, we would advise you to read every sentence and focus on tight writing. Open your eyes in an objective manner and see whether the sentence can be shortened, whether you can omit unnecessary words, and whether you are using adverbs in it. If you are, then a change is needed, because too many adverbs and adjectives take away the action that the adverb or adjectives describe. Try to wrap every sentence, shrink it until it snaps into place.
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2. First Chapter – Action
You will find plenty of advice out there that focuses on the hook, the first sentence and the first chapter. A lot of writers are tempted to begin with world building, turning the first chapter into an elongated description of the setting. By all means, do so, because it will help you create a better story. But in the editing process, you will need to cut away a lot, until the description is no more than a few sentences and until the first chapter focuses largely on the start of the action instead of describing the setting.
3. Use normal words
Readers don’t read books with a thesaurus or a dictionary lying open next to them. They want to go on a journey and enjoy the story; they are not interested in how many different words you know. Stay away from using obtuse words that even you don’t use in your every day conversations. Try reading out loud as you write – and if the word sounds weird on your lips, then it will sound even weirder to the readers and take them out of your story immediately. You don’t want to just have a perfect first chapter and allow the rest of the manuscript to stay as it is. Every sentence needs to be perfected, and obtuse words that are not common are the bane of good sentences.
4. Something is not happening
When a character doesn’t respond – is it important? If not, then the sentence that describes the lack of action should be deleted. Readers are smart – often times, they know that something didn’t happen even if you didn’t specifically point it out. In the same manner, delete words that describe in a redundant manner. For example, when a character nods, it is clear to the readers that they agree with something, or approve of something. There is no need to write “She nodded in agreement,” or “He nodded his approval.” She nodded is enough to show the readers what happened.
5. Characters speak
Characters say things. They might even mumble words, whisper them, or hiss. But they don’t grumble, they don’t exclaim, or declare. They don’t say things tiredly; they don’t say things cheerfully, they just say things. There is no better word than “said” or “says” depending on the tense you’re writing in, to show that a character is speaking. All other mannerism of dialogue attribution should be cut away and replaced with words that describe action. If a character is tired, or if they sigh, that is an action, and if they say something, then it should be separated from the action. Why? Because speaking is a separate action and you always need to remember that in your writing.
Image credit: Pixabay[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.