Thursday, August 14, 2008

Professionally Edit for Better Odds of Manuscript Acceptance

Everyone has their own style of writing. Some develop their writing skills through experience. Others just write from the heart. Either way, when your script is complete, hire an experienced copyeditor to “repair the damages.”

Publishers of all kinds prefer to see a manuscript edited prior to submission. Whether you choose to self-publish, POD, or submit to a traditional publishing house, your manuscript will need to be professionally edited. It’s well worth the time and cost to present a polished manuscript upfront. A traditional publisher will want to know that there isn’t excess “clean up” involved and will not be distracted from your book’s message by bad grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax. At the time of your submission, let the publisher know that your manuscript has been professionally edited. You will stand a better chance of being considered for publishing.

You can help your editor by following some basic guidelines and avoiding some of the common mistakes listed below.

· Format your manuscript using double-spaced Courier New, with one-inch margins. This is how most copyeditors and publishers prefer receiving manuscripts.
· Use one space after periods.
· Italics, bold, and underlined words are more difficult on the readers’ eye, try to avoid overusing them. Instead use stronger words to express a point.
· Be aware of the tendency to overuse the word “that.” See how many you can eliminate without changing the meaning of the sentence.
· Watch for repetition of words and writing patterns. We tend to use the same words over and over, when there are more appropriate synonyms much of the time.
· When referencing other works including statistics, cite all applicable sources either in the text, or in footnotes or endnotes.
· And, just for fun…“Lose” is to win or lose; “loose” is the opposite of tight.

Professional editors charge between $2 and $6 per page. Some charge by the word count. That can cost between $.018 and $.060 per word. It’s possible to get your manuscript edited for a lower price or even for free. Check with local colleges and universities. There may be students willing to work with you to edit your manuscript as part of an extra credit project. Either way, have your manuscript professionally edited.

Carol Denbow is the author of three books and the editor of A Book Inside. Visit Carol’s website at http://www.freewebs.com/authorbox

1 comment:

Gwyn Lacy said...

Thank you for this information about having a manuscript professionally edited before submitting to a publisher or agent. For a 60K book, I have been quoted $50 to $1100. It is a romance. What or how do you choose a professional editor? Suggestions?