The Editing Process: Getting Your Manuscript Ready For Proofreading.

Todd Barselow, senior editor at Imajin Books, has just sent me his first pass at editing DESCENT and had this to say:

“My life would be so much easier if all the manuscripts that crossed my desk were as clean as yours.”

Wasn’t I surprised to find such a great comment and to find I didn’t have too much work to do revising the manuscript. As you know, the ARC for DESCENT went out last week, so I was pleased not too much would change.

How did I get to this point?

Yesterday, before my first coffee,  I opened my email and found the edited version of DESCENT waiting in my inbox. I have to admit I was nervous, so I finished my coffee, ate breakfast, walked the dog and when I could procrastinate no further, I opened the attachment.

The editing process went like this:

  • Imajin Books gave us a deadline of early May to complete the edits and send DESCENT to the proofreader.
  • Todd and I must both read the manuscript three times (minimum).
  • Todd reads once and sends DESCENT back to me labelled V1.
  • I accept/reject any proposed changes – it’s a good idea to learn how to use the review section in MSWord as this seems to be the industry standard for editing right now.
  • I send the manuscript back to Todd as V2, and we repeat the process two more times.

This may seem like a lot work, but I think it’s worth the effort if it means a better manuscript.

I would have sworn my manuscript was error free. But alas, it was not so. What did Todd suggest? What errors did he find? I’ve summarized a few items below, so you’ll get an overview.

  • Be consistent with the Oxford comma. I don’t use them, and somehow a few slipped into the manuscript.
  • Replace a period with a question mark. This happened in two places even though I know how to use a question mark.
  • Add an exclamation mark. I didn’t use any, and Todd suggested two be added in the climax scene to increase tension.
  • Too, to, two: Jokes on me. I used ‘to’, instead of ‘two’ in chapter two.
  • Be consistent with hyphens and follow Chicago Manual Of Style These are hard errors to catch, but he found a few.
  • Tiny words… ‘as’ instead of ‘if’, missing ‘of’, and reach missing the ‘ed’
  • Dialogue.  When addressing people, use a comma after Hi. “Hi, Donny.” is the correct form in dialogue.

That should give you an idea of how detailed the edit is. For the sake of not boring you, I didn’t include everything.

To get the manuscript to a place where Todd praised it, I followed the process as outlined in the For Writers section of my webpage.

I think you’re getting my point…It’s a large, okay huge, shall we say ginormous amount of work to polish a completed manuscript.

Gotta say thanks to the talented Todd Barselow for his eagle eye and for making my novel better!

If you haven’t read my blog before, I’ve signed on with Imajin Books and will blog about my publishing adventure. I’ll share what I learn and hope it helps someone out there get their novel published.

Thanks for reading…


13 thoughts on “The Editing Process: Getting Your Manuscript Ready For Proofreading.

  1. My book is small since we are a children’s story so it is easy to proof read. but wow what a deal it is writing so much conversation. Punctuation and staying in present tense is my tough problem.


  2. Punctuation is always hard, no matter how short the story. I write novels in past tense, but short stories in present. If I’m working on a short story and a novel at the same time, I get into trouble.


  3. Thanks for this post, Kristina. It truly has been a pleasure working with you on DESCENT. And, yes, I meant every word. I do indeed wish every manuscript that passed across my desk was as easy to work on as yours. Cheryl at Imajin has a true gift when it comes to choosing the best works to publish.


  4. I just got chapter one back from my editor yesterday. I hadn’t made a single mistake in spelling or puncttuation. However, she had several suggestions for tightening up the prose.


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