Find the answers to your editing questions in eBooks2go’s “Ask the Editor” blog series! In this first entry, writers learn when to call it quits on manuscript editing as our editor discusses under-editing, over-editing, and giving your manuscript a well-earned rest.
Editing is just one wave your book sails through along its publishing voyage. However, your manuscript won’t get through the choppy waves of corrections unscathed. As your book’s captain, it’s important not to let your manuscript get lost in an editorial sea of red markups. Learn when to set sail at full editing speed and when to drop your book’s anchor and say, “Enough is enough!” in manuscript editing.
My manuscript’s been edited once … that’s enough, right?
Wrong. An initial edit is a great start to polishing your work—but it’s only the beginning. It’s understandable that an author would want to wrap up the manuscript editing stage in one swift round. You’ve already put so much creative energy into your writing and you’re eager to share your words with the reading world! Plus, editing isn’t exactly smooth sailing for writers.
Accepting editorial constructive feedback can be tough. Braving the red editorial sea once is hard enough, let alone enduring multiple waves of manuscript edits. It also raises the cost for writers who choose to pay for experienced and professional editing. But even the most seasoned author should have their content looked over more than once to avoid the risks of under-editing. Any number of small and big mistakes can hide within a manuscript’s pages after its first round of revisions. Skipping additional edits can lead to a book full of typos, errors, or awkward transitions that were either missed or introduced during a writer’s revisions. And as a previous blog illustrated, it’s vital for writers to ensure that their book is error-free before it’s published not just for reader’s enjoyment, but also to enhance their credibility.
So, when you receive your manuscript full of edits, roll up your writing sleeves and diligently address the revisions needed. With each editing wave, it’ll get easier and less turbulent as you learn how to improve your reader’s experience with the guidance of your editorial first mate!
Is it possible to over-edit?
Yes! Of course writers want their words to be understood, appreciated, and enjoyed by readers. However, there is such a thing as over-editing. At some point, you need to move on and transform your manuscript into a published book. It will never be absolutely perfect. Each time you go over your manuscript, you will inevitably find something you want to tweak—whether it’s painting a scene’s picture in your reader’s mind or further developing dynamic character dialogue. But danger lurks in the waters of over-editing.
As you go back over and over with revisions, you could risk taking your book far away from your original creative vision. A suggested edit could clean up a sentence’s structure and flow, but it could also completely change what the writer intended to communicate to readers. Sometimes it’s okay to disagree with an editor’s suggestion. We are vessels of knowledge, but we are not the experts in your content—you are!
Over-editing can also risk stripping your book of the creative life you breathed into its pages. Every writer has their own author voice, unique with their own style, tone, rhythm, and flow that readers learn to recognize and connect with as they delve into your pages. Over-editing can lead to a storm of revisions that not only alters your author voice, but also waters down your creativity.
Don’t get carried offshore fine-tuning your manuscript. With every edit, consider if it adds to your book’s quality and improves readability instead of simply changing the content. With each round of edits and revisions, think as both a writer and a reader. Ask yourself if your pages give readers the experience you hoped for when you began your creative voyage. When the answer is “Yes,” it’s time to steer your manuscript onto the next stage of its publishing voyage.
How do I know when I’m done editing my manuscript?
This is a tough question to answer. Every manuscript comes with its own unique set of editing needs. You could be finished with revisions after three drafts, or you could find yourself on the tenth draft before calling it quits. How do you know when enough is enough?
One way is to bring your manuscript ashore and let it rest from the waves of editing. Writers are closely tied to their content. You get even closer during the editing process as you scrutinize every minute detail. Letting your manuscript breathe prevents you from becoming overly focused on small fixes that your content may not even need. After a couple weeks of space, you’ll revisit your manuscript with a fresh perspective of the bigger picture it paints for readers and gain an understanding of how your book reads as a whole.
Another way to learn when you’ve had enough editing is to simply ask. It is part of an editor’s job to help writers evaluate whether or not their book is ready to hit the shelves. We are your objective sounding boards and want to help your book succeed! So, as you start hitting the point when you begin to question if your book is ready for readers, ask your editor if enough is enough. Let them be the lighthouse that helps navigate your book along its voyage to publishing success!
Explore eBooks2go’s editing services and learn more about how we can help with your manuscript editing today!