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Things to keep in mind before sending your manuscript for editing

Posted On : February 04 2018

Writer : Samarpita Mukherjee Sharma

Bookaholicanonymous is thankful to Samarpita Mukherjee Sharma for writing this post especially for us, we are sure many first time authors will benefit immensely from her tips.


The process of editing is ambiguous to most people who are writing their first manuscripts. This post by Samarpita Mukherjee Sharma reveals what you can expect and what will be expected from you when your manuscript goes for editing. First time authors please take note.

Samarpita Mukherjee Sharma eats, sleeps and breathes content, and her life revolves around words. She curates contents for many brands, specially Travel and F&B related. An economist by education and a wordsmith by passion, she chose the life of a digital nomad after quitting full time journalism a few years ago. A multi-tasker, this ex-journalist freelances as a content creator-cum-curator, manuscript editor, travel writer and social media manager. More about her work can be seen at www.samarpita.in


Things to keep in mind before sending your manuscript for editing

 I’ve been editing articles & reports since the last twelve years, and manuscripts, since the last 6 years. And be it a news report or a manuscript, most of the time, writers submit without editing. Some of you might ask, “Isn’t that the editor’s job?”

Well, yes. But do we know what the editor’s job exactly is? To make your copy look and read better. Not to correct silly mistakes in spelling or basic sentence formations. You have written something, you must love it. And if you love it, you must take care of it. And editor knows that the writer is bound to not notice certain glaring flaws and will never judge you for leaving them in the copy. The outsider eye of an editor is important to spot what even trained eyes miss at times, because they’ve been part of the writing process. That is okay. But a haphazardly written copy which hasn’t even been read once before being sent to the editor is a bad copy.

Being a writer and an editor, both, I get to sit on both sides of the fence and am well-aware of what both roles face. In fact, every time I submit my own writings, I insist on a round of editing and proof-reading because, a second and third perspective is important. However, as writers, there are basic checks we must do at our end before our content goes to the editor. And if you are a content provider, it is most likely that your copy will be directly published. So, for the uninitiated, here is a checklist of things to do before and during the process of editing:

 *       Run a spell-check of the document before sending it. This is a basic and should be corrected at your end itself.

*       Once you’ve finished writing, move away from it. For a week or so, in case of a manuscript. Come back to the document, not as its writer, but as a reader. And now read the document as a reader would. You’ll spot loopholes, character flaws, timeline faults and many more things. Mark them, keep making notes.

*       Once you’ve read the entire document, go back to your notes and start reworking on it. Make notes you’d want to discuss with your editor if you are not sure of certain changes.

*       It is okay to have your manuscript read by friends and family but honestly, it is a waste of time. You can do this only if you are looking for an ego rub because rarely will you get helpful criticism. We humans are not equipped to find fault in what our loved ones right. Depend on a professional for critique rather than someone close who also happens to be a reader.

*       Your editor will most likely, tear your manuscript apart. Don’t let emotions come in the way. You are paying them to perfect your manuscript. I always tell my clients, “It is better that I rip the story apart rather than readers do it after the book is published!” Take all suggestions provided and see how much of it you can improvise on.

*       If there are sections which you have written but are doubtful about, ideate with your editor. Going by my experience, I can assure you, we editors give excellent suggestions. Not kidding!

*       Trust your editor. But, use your own judgement too. As writer of the story, you know the flavour it was intended to have, the best. Ask questions where you don’t understand, no change can be made without you agreeing to it.

*       Respect your editor. Please do not call, mail or expect them to be available at odd hours. And make sure you adhere to the payment clause just like they shall be sticking to the timeline decided. Getting an editor for cheap might save you some money, but will someone who is really good at their job, really work for that cheap? Think about it.

*       Hire your editor wisely. I cannot keep insisting how important a good editor is. Not everyone scouting the market as an editor, knows how to edit.

Note: This post has been written keeping in mind debutant authors who need to hire editors since they are either going for self-publication or their publishers do not have a separate or proper editor on board. If you are investing on an editor, this post is for you!


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