My Process – How to Publish a Book (collection)

I’m constantly learning and revising everything I do. Sometimes it’s to strengthen existing knowledge and skills, and other times it’s because new things come out.

When I decided to self publish, I didn’t know where to start. I wrote this blog series reflecting on what I did. I hope my process provides others with an outline to get started.

With self publishing you do it your way, so if you want to do it different to me then you can. That’s the beauty of self publishing, you are in control of it all. Equally as empowering as that is, it can also be very daunting when you’re starting out.

Step 1 – Write Your Novel

My process starts right at the beginning with a blank page! I’ve included links to useful guides to help you writing the first draft.

Click here for step 1.

Step 2 – Edit Your Novel

Your novel should go through several edits before publishing. I include links to previous posts about the editing services I used to help you figure out which you need.

Click here for step 2.

Step 3 – Publish Your Book

This step covers what to do to get your interior and exterior right, and some of the different publishing options. I’ve linked to posts about my cover designer and formatter.

Click here for step 3.

Live This April!

During Camp NaNo, authors Cassidy Reyne and J D Groom have organised some Live sessions this April. They take place every Wednesday at 9pm (UK), on Instagram via @worldindiewarriors.

These sessions will support those doing Camp Nano, but each week they’ll have a different guest to discuss a topic of the week.

I’m their guest on 21 April at 9pm to discuss self publishing and answer any questions. Please do come join us.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Don’t put off writing your novel

How I did my cover reveal

My virtual Book Tour

My virtual Book Launch

The Process of Publishing a Novel – 2 of 3

If you missed my previous post – click here for part 1. Or check out the collection for all parts.

So, you’ve drafted your novel, edited it a few times, and now you’re thinking about self publishing it.

STOP!

Every book you publish builds your reputation. If you decide not to get it professionally edited, you risk loosing future readers. Successful authors always talk about the importance of their back list (previous titles). What you want is to create a fan base that will keep coming back for more.

You NEED to get it professionally edited.

Step 2 – Professional Edit

Here is a handy infographic you can add to Pinterest of the steps covered in this post.

There are many professional editors who specialise in different areas. I’ve tried to simplify the process in this graphic, but each editor is unique. Check what they offer as part of their editing service. I will provide links to more info where I can.

Developmental Edit

You can learn so much about your novel and writing from this edit. The editor will highlight what’s working and what’s not, and make some suggestions on how to improve it.

Check out my post on why you need a developmental editor.

Self Edit

When you get your manuscript back you will have a lot of work to do but it’s well worth it. I paid a local printer to print my MS, so I could work through the edits physically and digitally.

Line Edit

Sometimes to save money people choose between a line or copy edit as they have similarities. If you can afford both, do it. The more editing the better. For Ocean Heart, I did skip this but my editor did some line editing within her copy edit.

Self Edit

Read through all the changes made (or recommended) by your editor. These will improve your manuscript. You don’t have to make the changes but I doubt you paid for an editor to ignore them.

Copy Edit

I got a copy edit for Ocean Heart as my final edit. My editor still pointed out areas that needed improving – even by this point, it still wasn’t perfect.

Check out my post on Why you need a Copy Editor.

Self Edit

Got feedback? Use it to to make your manuscript even better. By this point most authors are sick of editing and lost count of the number of drafts – now its ready to publish.

Publish your novel

The next post in my series is about turning your final manuscript into a book and publishing it…

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you might like:

The Benefits of Having a Formatter

12 Tips for Self Editing

Tips on Naming your Character

My Best Kept Writing Secret

Why you need a Copy Editor

When I decided to self publish I knew I would need an editor. As much as I love writing and creating stories, English language was never my best subject at school.

I wasn’t the worst but I wasn’t top of the class either. Even if I’d been good at English I’d still need an editor, because people miss their own mistakes.

Once ready for an editor, I was over whelmed by how many different types of editors there are. For Ocean Heart, I used many rounds of Beta Readers, and two rounds of professional edits, and used a professional formatter.

I chose to use Avery McDougall as my copy editor. 

Developmental Editor

Avery McDougall was my Developmental Editor. I wrote a blog post about my experience and included her comments in my Behind the Character series.

Why You Need A Developmental Editor

What is copy/line editing?

The two terms are often used interchangeably as they are similar and it’s important to check what your editor means so you can ensure what you are paying for is what you expect.

Copy Edit: Unsually involves checking SPAG, readability, and clarity. They may highlight where it’s not flowing right.

Line Edit: Usually focuses on the content and use of language. They highlight inconsistent style, where pacing is too fast/slow, if you’ve overused a word (or repeating yourself).

If you can afford both, do it. Traditionally published books will have a copy edit, then a line edit. If you can’t afford both, don’t skip the copy edit. Your spellchecker is not enough.

How I chose my Copy Editor

Avery was at the top of my list as I’d already had such a good experience with her, but I did consider letting another pair of eyes run over my manuscript.

Budget: This was a big deciding factor. I had a limited budget and had to operate within my means.

Recommendation: Connecting with other indie authors gave me a good source of recommendations, many are listed in the World Indie Warriors brochure.

Expertise: All of them had experience as an editor. One was new, but had already built a portfolio and I’d attended a workshop she did which helped build trust. But, Avery was the only one that specialised in YA.

I went with Avery as she ticked all my boxes and was already familiar with my book. As she does writing workshops with teens, she also has a close relationship with my target audience.

My experience

I paid Avery for a copy edit. But, it definitely over lapped into a line edit. For example, she highlighted a scene where the emotional impact needed work, and another scene where my character came off rude towards her friend.

Through Avery’s comments I learnt a lot about my writing. Once I’d actioned her feedback, my novel was definitely better.

Unofficial Proofreader

I wish I could have afforded a line edit but my budget was maxed out. Avery didn’t get to see it again, as I went ahead with my next step – formatting. Once formatted, I sent it off to my ARC readers.

One of my ARC readers was author Cassidy Reyne. She did an unofficial proofread for me. I didn’t ask her to do it, she’s just sweet like that.

As I’d already paid Ingram to publish Ocean Heart (it was on preorder) there was a fee to amend the files. I paid it because I wanted my book to be as perfect as possible. I’m so thankful to Cassidy for letting me know.

For my next book, I will seek out Cassidy’s eagle eyes – if she has time. If not, I will consider getting a professional proofreader.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

12 Tips For Self Editing

Behind the Character – Mariah

Book Review: Agent Undone – Cassidy Reyne

The Making of the Blurb – Ocean Heart

The Process of Publishing a Novel – 1 of 3

Check out the collection for all parts.

The first step to publishing a novel is often to write the first draft. This is the same whether you wish to traditionally or self publish. There are some exceptions to this rule.

If you’ve have an interesting story to tell from your real life or an expert in your field, a publisher or agent might reach out and request you write a book if there is a market in demand.

Some people prefer to hire a ghost writer to write for them. In this case you’re not the one physically writing your book and this post is not for you because today I’m covering writing the draft version.

Step 1 – Draft a Novel

Here is a handy info graphic of what I’m going to cover in this post.

You can save this to your Pinterest board.

Plan

If you’re writing a full length novel it’s useful to start with a plan. I don’t consider myself a plotter but I still write an outline. It helps me get from A to B, and a few check points along the way.

Some writers want a more detailed plan. They might want to design their characters, do some Worldbuilding and draw maps, or even need to research information.

Write

This is obviously the most important part. If you don’t write the book there won’t be a book. However, don’t get hung up on making it perfect. You will not publish your first draft – in fact nobody has to see that monstrosity if you don’t want them to.

Writing a novel is a big task. It can help to break it down into smaller more manageable tasks. Many writers find it useful to set word count goals. Writing sprints can be useful to focus time on writing in quick bursts.

Here’s a handy post on beating writers block.

Self Edit

Some writers edit as they write – this does slow the process down but afterwards your manuscript is in a better shape. Other writers spew the words onto the page and tidy up the mess afterwards.

It doesn’t matter how you do it but you’ll want to give it an edit before letting anyone else read it. It’s easy to make mistakes whilst you are in the moment.

You don’t need to limit the number of self edits. Edit it as many times as you need to. Some people break the task into different focusses. For example, you might do a read through and look for inconsistencies, or focus on SPAG, or receptiveness, or pacing.

Here is a post with some tips on how to self edit.

Alpha Reader

Not everybody uses an Alpha. They are often someone you are close to and you show them an early draft to get feedback. Sometimes Alphas are used before a book is finished to assess whether the story has any merit before investing a load of time in it.

Self Edit

Whenever you get feedback on your book you should reflect on it. Did your Alpha share some ideas to help you improve your book?

Don’t worry if they didn’t. Many Alphas are already your personal cheerleaders (like your spouse, mum, best friend, etc). They might not have the skills to critique but when you’re battling self doubt, they are the ones picking you up and cheering you on.

They may also have raised issues or ideas you hadn’t thought about. Often when trying to get someone to understand your idea, you discover the plot holes or where things aren’t clear enough.

Beta Readers

These people read a draft you’ve worked on improving. You can even find paid Betas who have skills to highlight where you can improve your novel further.

Here is a post that compares Beta and ARC readers (and touches on Alpha readers).

Self Edit

Yes! You will get feedback from your Betas on how to improve your book. It’s best to have a few Betas and they may even have conflicting views. Allow yourself time to reflect on their advice.

Remember it is your novel at the end of the day and if their ideas are changing the vision you had, you don’t have to apply them. However, if several readers pointed out the same thing, they most likely have a point you should pay attention to.

You may even want to ask your Betas questions. For example, is this sex scene too much for teen readers? Um… yes, I’m working on a story where my Betas will be asked this. 😂

Get a Professional Edit…

The next post in my series is about getting your manuscript professionally edited…

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this post, you will like:

Check out my Live Stream Team

5 Tips for Character Names

Creating a Catchy Novel Title

How NOT To Start A Novel

2021 Goals!

This year, I’ve really struggled with creating my goals. The problem is there’s so much I want to do but where to start?

I know if I have too many plates spinning, they’ll all crash. As I’m writing this it’s January 1st and I’m finally choosing my goals after agonizing over them for two weeks. And… I may still tweak them before this post goes live.

Personal

Skincare routine: Over the years, I’ve tried loads countless products and I’m constantly changing my routine. During 2021, I plan to finalise my skincare products which I think will benefit my skin.

I hate waste so I need to use up products I already have, and it also depends on money too. I’ve already decided on the products and look forward to sharing these with you as I buy them.

Visit Hollowtree Farm: Fear of the virus and lockdowns reduced the number of places we visited. We even had a gift voucher for a fun day at the farm and never got to go. They’ve said it doesn’t expire so this is a priority for 2021!

Self care: I never have time to indulge in things like doing my nails or a face mask. So, I’m planning to reward myself with products to support this when I hit my other goals.

Writing

Sky Heart: This is the BIG one. I want to finish book 2 in the Soul Heart series. But… there are many steps to a published book so this will likely take me all year.

Publishing a Novel To Do List

For accountability, I’m going to tweet my progress every Sunday.

Novella 1: I’m working on two novella’s but I want to finish “Denny’s story” first. I’m thinking of using it as a readers magnet.

Novella 2: This project will be on standby and only worked on if I’m waiting on stuff for the other writing projects. This is ”Luna’s story”. I’m still working on the titles of my novellas.

Ocean Heart: I have ideas to do something special in Mer-May. But, I can’t say more until I’ve figured out the details.

Reading

10 Books: Yes, it sounds low but when I’m busy on a writing project I only read a chapter or two a night making my progress very slow. 2020 I only just hit my goal of 12 books. 😂

I do only record fiction books but I also read a few non-fiction books on writing. I’m hoping to review these on my YouTube channel this year, as well as other bookish content.

I will keep posting my reviews to my blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Book Bub, Litsy, if able to. I will track my reading goal on Goodreads.

Goodreads/Litsy/Book Bub/Book Sniffer: I’ve used Goodreads for a few years but never been very active. I hope to improve that and get better at using the other reading social apps. Which brings me on nicely to my next goal…

Social Media

Website update: I’m going to quarterly review my website content to check it is up to date. And, update during that month.

Shop: Okay, it’s not social media but it is connected to my website. I’m trying to create a shop on my website but struggling. I will master it! I mastered moving my website during my book launch.

Trial Canva Pro: I love Canva and been tempted to pay for the pro version. But now there’s a scheduled too. It would be incredible to have everything in one place.

I bought Planoly during my book launch so I could schedule videos and carousels on IG. There’s been a few occasions it hasn’t posted, so I’m tempted to try other schedulers.

Consistently Post: This went really well this year for my blog and Instagram. I want to continue it and add YouTube and Twitter to my goals.

  • Blog: Mon, & Thurs
  • IG: Mon, Weds, & Fri
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly)
  • Twitter: Sun
  • Newsletter: end of month (was every other month)

Followers/Reviews: I’ve seen people track their followers growth. I’ve never done this but it’s a good idea. I will aim for a 20% increase over all platforms.

2021 Followers Count

I’d love to reach 10k on Instagram as it opens up certain features but it feels still too far out of reach. Until I worked out what 20% was, I was thinking of aiming for 5k by June. I think 4687 is more realistic and although social media helps with marketing my passion is writing.

My Facebook page has been around longer than my group. The Soul Heart Readers group was created in October to help with Ocean Heart’s release. I’m hoping members will stick around for Sky Heart – I’ll need BETA and ARC readers later this year.

I use Parler the same way I use Twitter, and really like the platform. My numbers grew fast when I first joined but has now slowed down. It’ll be interesting to see which of the two platforms has more growth in 2021.

My YouTube channel is very new, I’m not sure how fast it will grow. I’ll also be posting to Odysee to try out the new platform – I’ve not used it yet. Over the Christmas break, I created a new Intro & Outro which I’m looking forward to using.

Reviews: I have a page on my website where I’ve collected my favourite reviews of Ocean Heart, and directed readers to where the original can be found.

Reviews are really important for a books visibility, so I will be tracking how many I have and – eek – remind my readers to leave reviews.

January Goals

Listing my goals for only this month looks like a lot. Eek 😬

Personal

  • Record unboxing of Naturismo box (then start using products)

Writing

  • Sky Heart: Write 5k per week – track progress on Google sheet. Share progress on Twitter/Parler for accountability

Reading

  • Set annual reading goal on Goodreads
  • Finish reading Cinderella is Dead (paperback) – track progress on Goodreads
  • Finish reading Winter Trials (eBook) – track progress on Goodreads

Social Media

  • Update website content
  • Add shop to website
  • Blog & IG: Create January content & make a start on February content (aim to always be two weeks ahead)
  • Record, edit, schedule two YouTube/Odysee videos
  • Try out Canva pro – if scheduler is good, cancel Planoly
  • Weekly Twitter/Parler accountability post

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

About Ocean Heart

My 2020 Book Reviews

Looking back at 2020

My Links Page

The Author & Me Show

I got an invitation from Instagrammer @inspire.withkhadija to be a guest on her show Author & Me.

About Khadija Masreef

Khadija Maaref is author of the book Muslim Women in Western Society. Her book is full of motivational and inspirational speeches, from a well travelled woman that has experienced many cultures.

Discover more about her and her book at https://www.khadijamaaref.com/

Author & Me

Khadija continues her inspirational messages through her show Author & Me. During this show she hosts a live interview with a guest author.

She asked me various questions about when I started writing and why, and encouraged me to share tips that would help others.

I’m going to check out the other episodes. This a free resource for everyone & bound to be full of gems of wisdom from a variety of experiences and backgrounds. You can watch it here.

My Live

Do you want to see the whole interview… then, click here.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Technical Difficulties

YouTube: A Bookish Surprise

YouTube: I’m Her Biggest Fan

Writer’s Hashtag Collection

If you’re an indie, you need to know about this!

When I joined WIW I didn’t think self-publishing was for me. I only joined to connect with other writers.

Hearing their inspiring stories changed my mind. Self-publishing was no longer scary and they happily shared their experiences which I was able to learn from.

And, I achieved my initial goal of making incredible writer friends.

You can learn more by following them on:

Facebook: World Indie Warriors Members

Instagram: @WorldIndieWarriors

WordPress: World Indie Warriors

WIW eZine

This is a project that I manage for World Indie Warriors. I have been learning as I go and think each edition is better than the last!

It contains:

  • ENTERTAIN/LEARN: Articles for readers, writers and other creatives
  • BUY: Listings for indie books, products and services
  • CONNECT: A directory of featured members and how to find them on Social Media

This month there have been three blog posts on the WIW Blog about the upcoming brochure and how to get involved. This have been:

Submissions Open

This blog posts details all the content you need to submit to get featured in the brochure.

You can get featured if you are:

  • An indie author
  • Creator of indie products
  • Provider of an indie service

And you don’t need to be an indie. You can be a supporter of indies. We also feature members that are book bloggers too!

  • A book blogger or reviewer of any product or service in the brochure

New Releases

We have rebranded the brochure as an eZine. Another new feature will be to promote books coming soon.

If you are an indie author publishing in Oct, Nov, or Dec, you can get your new release featured.

All Indie Books

This is for bookstagrammers! Check out the post for full details but all you have to do is take a photo of an indie book or collection of indie books, use the hashtag #AllIndieBooks and we’ll feature our favourite with credit to your instagram account.

If the photo is of a book in the brochure we may also include you on the page it is featured.

What are you waiting for?

If you haven’t checked out WIW yet, go do it now! Check out the brochure and get involved.

The new brochure will launch at the end of September.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Writing Progress: July

Soul Heart Readers – Street Team

Why I love World Indie Warriors

Where To Find The Best Indie Books

12 tips for self editing

This post was really popular last year, so I decided to revamp it and create a series of editing posts. 

I love writing. It is so liberating to allow the words to flow out however they may come. But, this means they need to be tidied up later. And, I’m not a fan of editing.  Without further ado, here are my tips to make self editing easier.

Take a break from your project

Don’t start editing as soon as it is written. When your writing is still fresh, you will be too close to the text that and will miss mistakes as you know what it is meant to say.

By distancing yourself, you’ll read it with a fresh perspective.

Set Goals & Create Trackers

After giving your novel space, this is the next thing you should do. Setting yourself a target is what will keep you going through your edit. Break the task up into manageable chunks and it will seem less daunting.

I will soon share a post about how I use a spreadsheet for this but for now, here is an example of my paper tracker. Seeing your progress is extremely rewarding and motivating.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxlI7PCAcqU/?igshid=2k4jqijd1acs

Versions

I always copy & paste to a new document so I don’t edit the original. This helps protects your work if you realise you cut something you shouldn’t have or find the new version isn’t working.

Change the format

There are several ways to do this and it will result in you seeing the novel from a different perspective.

Print it: I currently don’t have a printer at the moment so can’t take advantage of this one but having a hard copy will enable you to read it in a. You have the added bonus of being able to write notes on your document.

Change the font: Different fonts have different vibes and some fonts will make identifying mistakes clearer. On this note, you may find certain fonts help to be more creative when writing. I would recommend cursive or italic for creativity and sans or serif fonts for serious editing.

Audio: If you have software that reads your text aloud, this can help you hear mistakes. You can also try reading it aloud and see if you stumble over and of the text or parts that don’t flow right.

Basic Spellcheck

Today there are no excuses for misspelt words. Every modern word processor program comes with a basic spell checker built in. However, it won’t pick up the misuse of words if spelt or used correctly which leads me on nicely to my next point.

Proofread

This is so important. A spellcheck is following rules of the English language but when you read it you may find you’ve used the wrong word or the sentence in not saying what you intended. For example, ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ are spelt correct but mean the opposite. Whilst proof reading you will also identify ways to strengthen weak text. I also will highlight text I need to return to look at again.

Hemingway App

This is a browser app. On the website I copy and paste the chapter I’m working on into the app. I tend to proofread in this app as it highlights weak words like those ending in ‘ly’ and passive words. It also highlights complex sentences which you may want to simplify for your readers.

It grades your writing. You don’t necessarily want a high grade. If your novel is graded high then it might feel like a chore for your readers. It actually is more enjoyable if it is a lower grade.

Hemingway will slap you in the face with your over use of ‘just’, ‘that’ and other unnecessary filler words.

Grammarly

Next, I paste my chapter into Grammarly. This focuses on different qualities in your writing and always makes further suggestions. It often picks up on my over or under use of commas.

It is an advanced spell check but it is following a set of rules and sometimes writers like to break these rules. For example, it might identify a character is not speaking in a grammatically correct way but maybe I want them to speak like that. This is why you must always review the suggestions.

I prefer the browser version to the mobile app.

Find & Replace

Use F&R to replace name changes or look for repetitive words. You can also use it to check for mistakes with spacing.

I used it to check my formatting for speech so I get it to find ” in my manuscript. I’ve also used it to change a name throughout my MS.

Structural edit

https://www.instagram.com/p/BumXZ5In8D6/

I used Save the Cat during my edit to check the pacing of my story.

Based on the original length of the novel, I calculate where in the story different beats should happen. For example, by doing this I was able to identify that my start was too slow so I looked at what was unnecessary to cut.

Back up

You’ve spent a lot of time working on your novel so ensure you back it up. There is nothing more upsetting than discovering you lost it.

Easy methods to back up is to save to more than one location: Pc/laptop, USB, Google drive, email yourself.

Feedback

Once you think it is perfect, it’s time to get a second opinion. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Editor: Do your research to find one that you would like to work with.  There are also different editors for different stages of your book.  
  • Mentor: Work with an experienced author to learn from them.
  • Critique Group: Join a group of writers to exchange novels and give each other feedback.
  • Share Online: Post on sites like Wattpad to see how your novel is received.
  • Beta Readers: Find a group of readers and gather there feedback on your novel (can ask them to complete questionnaires).

Some feedback will be based on personal opinion. Writing is an art after all and you can chose to ignore their suggestions especially if it is pulling you away from your original vision and voice. But if several people are raising issue with the same part, it is likely that they have a valid point.  They have taken their time to read your novel and help you, so respect their input and consider their feedback.  


Do you use any of the above methods? Have you any tips to add that I missed?

I’ve have recently received my novel back from a developmental edit.  The feedback has been unbelievably useful and my novel I once thought was close to ready is now requiring a lot of work. 

The editor wasn’t harsh.  In fact her feedback is what I have been craving for year.  It is like having a best friend who understands what you are trying to achieve and has the skills to help.  She has been honest with me about what is and isn’t working and even even shared resources to help me.    

Have you ever used a professional editor?

If you like this, you will enjoy:

Comma ‘gain!

Tips on naming your character

Write 50k words in 30 days

Do you keep notebooks of story ideas?

  if_twitter-01-01_3066980  if_instagram-01-01_3066990  if_youtube-01-01_3066976  if_g-01-01_3066962

Ally plus text


@Redfae

How I edited my novel – 12 tips for self editing

I love writing. It is so liberating to allow the words to flow out however they may come. But, this means they need to be tidied up later. And, I’m not a fan of editing.

Over the years, I’ve found ways to make editing easier. Today, I will share my methods to help you and other writers.

Take a break from your project

Don’t start editing as soon as it is written. When your writing is still fresh, you will be too close to the text that and will miss mistakes as you know what it is meant to say.

By distancing yourself, you’ll read it with a fresh perspective.

Set Goals & Create Trackers

After giving your novel space, this is the next thing you should do. Setting yourself a target is what will keep you going through your edit. Break the task up into manageable chunks and it will seem less daunting.

I will soon share a post about how I use a spreadsheet for this but for now, here is an example of my paper tracker. Seeing your progress is extremely rewarding and motivating.

Versions

I always copy & paste to a new document so I don’t edit the original. This helps protects your work if you realise you cut something you shouldn’t have or find the new version isn’t working.

Change the format

There are several ways to do this and it will result in you seeing the novel from a different perspective.

Print it: I currently don’t have a printer at the moment so can’t take advantage of this one but having a hard copy will enable you to read it in a. You have the added bonus of being able to write notes on your document.

Change the font: Different fonts have different vibes and some fonts will make identifying mistakes clearer. On this note, you may find certain fonts help to be more creative when writing. I would recommend cursive or italic for creativity and sans or serif fonts for serious editing.

Audio: If you have software that reads your text aloud, this can help you hear mistakes. You can also try reading it aloud and see if you stumble over and of the text or parts that don’t flow right.

Basic Spellcheck

Today there are no excuses for misspelt words. Every modern word processor program comes with a basic spell checker built in. However, it won’t pick up the misuse of words if spelt or used correctly which leads me on nicely to my next point.

Proofread

This is so important. A spellcheck is following rules of the English language but when you read it you may find you’ve used the wrong word or the sentence in not saying what you intended. For example, ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ are spelt correct but mean the opposite. Whilst proof reading you will also identify ways to strengthen weak text. I also will highlight text I need to return to look at again.

Hemingway App

This is a browser app. On the website I copy and paste the chapter I’m working on into the app. I tend to proofread in this app as it highlights weak words like those ending in ‘ly’ and passive words. It also highlights complex sentences which you may want to simplify for your readers.

It grades your writing. You don’t necessarily want a high grade. If your novel is graded high then it might feel like a chore for your readers. It actually is more enjoyable if it is a lower grade.

Hemingway will slap you in the face with your over use of ‘just’, ‘that’ and other unnecessary filler words.

Grammarly

Next, I paste my chapter into Grammarly. This focuses on different qualities in your writing and always makes further suggestions. It often picks up on my over or under use of commas.

It is an advanced spell check but it is following a set of rules and sometimes writers like to break these rules. For example, it might identify a character is not speaking in a grammatically correct way but maybe I want them to speak like that. This is why you must always review the suggestions.

I prefer the browser version to the mobile app.

Find & Replace

Use F&R to replace name changes or look for repetitive words. You can also use it to check for mistakes with spacing.

I used it to check my formatting for speech so I get it to find ” in my manuscript. I’ve also used it to change a name throughout my MS.

Structural edit

I used Save the Cat during my edit to check the pacing of my story.

Based on the original length of the novel, I calculate where in the story different beats should happen. For example, by doing this I was able to identify that my start was too slow so I looked at what was unnecessary to cut.

Back up

You’ve spent a lot of time working on your novel so ensure you back it up. There is nothing more upsetting than discovering you lost it.

Easy methods to back up is to save to more than one location: Pc/laptop, USB, Google drive, email yourself.

Feedback

Once you think it is perfect, it’s time to get a second opinion. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Editor: Do your research to find one that you would like to work with.
  • Mentor: Work with an experienced author to learn from them.
  • Critique Group: Join a group of writers to exchange novels and give each other feedback.
  • Share Online: Post on sites like Wattpad to see how your novel is received.
  • Beta Readers: Find a group of readers and gather there feedback on your novel (can ask them to complete questionnaires).

Remember some feedback will be based on their personal opinion and you can chose to ignore their suggestions especially if it is pulling you away from your original vision and voice. However, if they are likely to have a good point and are trying to help you to see areas where you can improve.

Do you use any of the above methods? Have you any tips to add that I missed?

I’ve just finished a full novel edit and it feels good to see the new improved final version. My novel has been edited so many times I have lost count. Each time I thought I got it but then I have discovered new ways to improve it. With each edit, I believe I have developed as a writer. I am aware that although I think this is it, I may find reason to edit again.

If you like this, you will enjoy:

Comma ‘gain!

Tips on naming your character

Discover Your Story Plotting Style

Do you keep notebooks of story ideas?

  if_twitter-01-01_3066980  if_instagram-01-01_3066990  if_youtube-01-01_3066976  if_g-01-01_3066962

Ally plus text