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

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

As a writer, I think our happiest day is that when we first see our book in print. Oh, joy to see our name on the cover—our picture on the back—months, sometimes years of working towards this fulfilling goal. Today is that day for me. Even though this isn’t my first “happy day,” my emotions overflow and I am inspired.

It’s easy to begin a new writing project; we’re filled with hope and excitement as we sit down at the keyboard and begin our new and wondrous journey. Then it happens again, somewhere dead in the mist of it, we abandon it and tuck it away only to be found years later as we mutter the same old remarks under our breath, “why didn’t I finish this, it would have made a great book?”

Is it only human nature that we don’t finish what we begin? Are we stuck in a rut of incomplete projects? It’s easy to do. When the hope and excitement evolves into a “working” project, we lose interest. But if we can simply keep on pushing forward we will eventually see the end of the tunnel and become inspired once again.

I personally found that inspiration and “did” finish my book and I can tell you now, it’s worth the push! I’m proud to say; my new book is “A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story” and today is my happy day!

Be inspired, keep your hope alive, and sit down and write something!