Many authors, even those with decent writing abilities, do such a terrible job of self-editing that the self-publishing arena has become inundated with error-prone novels. There are hundreds of books that can help you navigate through the editing process – books that provide clear explanations, examples and instructions. These books will arm you with valuable tips to help you tackle the challenging task of self-editing with success.
Writers are not editors and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it! Many authors, even those with decent writing abilities, do such a terrible job of self-editing that the self-publishing arena has become inundated with error-prone novels. For this reason, self-editing is rarely encouraged among indie authors. And it’s not that editing your own work can’t be accomplished successfully. It’s just that your chances of succeeding in self-publishing are higher if you actually make the decision (or have the financial means) to invest in a professional editor. Of course, it’s no mystery that professional editors aren’t cheap. Consequently, some authors just cannot afford to hire one. If this is your predicament, then for you self-editing is a necessity rather than a compromise.
Best Books on Self-Editing
If your limited funds leave you with no other alternative but to edit your own work, then utilize as many resources as possible to improve your chances of doing it right. There are hundreds of books that can help you navigate through the editing process – books that provide clear explanations, examples and instructions. These books will arm you with valuable tips to help you tackle the challenging task of self-editing with success.
1. The Artful Edit (Susan Bell, 2007)
Published by W.W. Norton and Company, “The Artful Edit” delivers a comprehensive exploration of the art of editing. Using case studies, quotes and even examples, veteran book editor Susan Bell provides readers with useful tips about self-editing as well as exercises that authors can use to improve their editing capabilities. Included in the book are insightful interviews with successful authors like Ann Patchett who have a lot to say about the art of editing.
2. Editing the RedPen Way (Anne Rainbow, 2016)
This Anne Rainbow-penned book, published by RedPen Publishing, tries to simplify the self-editing process for those who might be struggling with the concept. With 35 years of publishing experience, Rainbow uses this book to expose her self-editing system, the RedPen way, to the myriad of aspiring indie authors that need it to get started. Rainbow encourages authors to edit their own work because it cuts down on the overall cost of self-publishing in the long run. This book makes that possible.
3. Revision and Self-Editing for Publication (James Scott Bell, 2008)
James Scott Bell, an experienced novelist and writing instructor, attempts to guide writers through the process of creating the first draft and perfecting it for publication purposes in his book, “Revision and Self-Editing for Publication”. Besides merely breaking down the self-editingprocess, Bell teaches writers a variety of self-editing approaches. Making use of his suggestions can help ensure that those most important aspects of your manuscript are refined before you make your submission to an agent or publisher.
4. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (Renni Browne, Dave King, 2004)
Renni Browne and Dave King are two authors with years of experience as professional and freelance editors. In their co-authored book “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers”, they teach writers how to think like editors when evaluating their own work. Considered a self-editing guide for fiction writers, this book lists every mistake new authors tend to make, how those mistakes sabotage their manuscripts and how they can go about making revisions. The book uses some obscure references, but its instructions are pretty straightforward and easy enough to understand.
5. The Elements of Active Prose (Tahlia Newland, 2015)
Published by AIA Publishing, “The Elements of Active Prose” is comprehensive in nature. It attacks the different aspects of the writing process in addition to teaching authors how to execute the whole ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ adage. Not only does the book have a section on self-editing, but it also advises authors on the best way to work with editors should they decide to hire one. Individuals who are struggling with writing as a whole will find that this book answers their questions about self-editing as well as several other elements of the publishing process.
Each of the books listed above offer a different style and approach when it comes to self-editing. What works for one author may not be the right fit for another. So take time to explore these titles, along with a bunch of other self-editing books, until you find the style and approach that works best for you.