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The Grueling Task Of Editing A Book – How to Edit Your Book And Make The Task Easier

How to Edit Your Book And Make The Task Easier

When you reach the editing stage in your book

I received the 1st round of editing on my manuscript back from the publisher a few weeks ago,  (Yes I said 1st. There will be more.) I now have the grueling task of spending many hours going through it in depth, noting any additional changes I would like to make. If you want to be absolutely thorough in your editing, plan on this taking a while. Don’t expect to have it done in a week.

Every writer has their own way of editing. I’ve been at this now for two weeks and through trial and error, I’ve discovered what works for me. The process I use keeps me organized and makes the task much easier.

Preparing to edit

How to Edit Your Book And Make The Task Easier

Having a good comfortable work space will help with this task. Here are some ideas to help create that space

  • Locate an area that is quite
  • The area should be away from distractions and noise
  • It should be well lit and airy. Preferably with a window
  • Have a desk with a large surface area
  • A comfortable chair
  • Tools on hand: computer/s notepad and pens

Schedule your editing time by following these simple rules

  • Treat your editing time like you would any other job by scheduling it into your daily routine.
  • Discipline yourself to spend at least two hours a day editing
  • Pick a time that works for you and stick to it.

Now it’s time to edit

How to Edit Your Book And Make The Task Easier

When I do my editing, I find it much easier to use two computer screens. I  download a copy of my manuscript in PDF file into each computer. One computer is used as a visual only and the other is used to make my changes. On the computer, I use to make any changes I also open a blank WORD document.

My manuscript is returned to me, with each line assigned a number. This number is used to note my changes I may have to my editor. Here is the step by step method I use to edit each paragraph.

I begin by reading the paragraph out loud. Followed by reading each sentence out loud. I take note if I have to pause and reread it. I keep rereading until I figure out which word is causing a break in the sentence. Sometimes a simple switching of words around will fix the problem or I may need to think of other words that bring the flow of the sentence together. Once I have found a solution, I write it down immediately on my note pad, before it is forgotten.

I also look for:

  • Misspelled words
  • Incorrect grammar
  • Repetitive words
  • Is my description sufficient? Do I need to add more?

Making the changes to your manuscript

Now that I have my revised sentence it’s time to record it. By looking at my visual screen I can locate the line number.

  • On my blank WORD document, I write the “line number” using BLACK BOLD
  • I then go to the other copy of my manuscript, locate the sentence and COPY & PASTE it into the word document. I now have the original sentence that needs to be revised.
  • I use RED BOLD for “commands.” Delete” “Change to”  AND Add” are some of the terms I use
  • I type the command after the “original text”
  • I Use BLUE for the revised version. The new text is entered after the “command
  • Once I have the revised sentence entered in my word document I COPY & PASTE it over the original in the second PDF document (Not the visual) in Green.

This may all sound confusing without some visual content. below are a couple of screen shots that may help:

How to Edit Your Book And Make The Task Easier


The screen shot above shows my EDIT LINE IN BOLD BLACK, the original text in Quotation marks, The command in red and the Revised text in blue. When completed, this WORD document is sent back to the editor.

How to Edit Your Book And Make The Task Easier

This screenshot shows my revisions in green that I have copied into my 2nd copy of the manuscript. When I receive the 2nd edit from the publisher, I will have this as a cross-reference to check that all my changes have been entered.

Take your time

How to Edit Your Book And Make The Task Easier

As you can see, this is a slow process. Take your time, don’t rush.If you plan on working for more than a few hours, take plenty of breaks. I take a fifteen-minute break every hour. I walk away and do anything but read or write. I may have a cup of tea or I may walk the dogs or water the plants. Taking those fifteen-minute breaks gives not only my eyes a break but also my mind. I return with a clear head, refreshed and ready to take on some more paragraphs.

I will be following this whole process for the entire manuscript. Currently, I’m on chapter 6 and will be doing this for a while. Once I’ve gone through the entire document, I plan on leaving it a lone for a week. When I return with a clear head, I’ll spend some more time reading through it again out loud. It’s amazing what you can find if you just walk away from a project for a while. Only whenI’m 100% happy with my changes will it be sent back to the editor. I then wait patiently for round two of editing to begin. (Phew)

This process may not work for everyone but maybe pieces of it will. You may find additional or different methods to incorporate into what I do. If so I would love to hear about them.

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26 thoughts on “The Grueling Task Of Editing A Book – How to Edit Your Book And Make The Task Easier”

  1. I really hope to get my ebook finished this fall. Right now it’s not a huge priority and more of a working on it sporadically when I find time with intentions for it to be in my first spirit of 2018, if I don’t finish the first draft before. But I will have to refer back to this.

    1. Thank you! I had to find a way to make this dreaded task easier. This method really helped. I thought about paying someone but for me, it’s also a learning experience and I like a challenge 🙂

  2. Good luck with your editing! I work with authors a lot, and write myself. I know that it’s a slow process, but the resulting product is so much better at the end. I’m sure many will appreciate your detailed and valuable advice like I did.

  3. For me the editing part is the worst. The first time I write something I love it, then when I read it over and over again I think that I can do it better so I start rewriting again 🙂

    1. Yes, that’s why we edit no matter how grueling it is. I am amazed by how many changes I am making during this editing process. Thought it sounded great when it went to the publisher but after not reading for a few months I’m seeing so many changes.

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