A manuscript if a funny thing. It seems it can be revised, edited, and proofed indefinitely.
Then you get to a point where you think it might finally be there.
But, as every good writer should do, you go over it yet again.
At this point, it’s strongly advised that you take at least a week to two weeks, possibly more, before giving your manuscript a final read through.
This strategy will help you find errors, content that can be tightened, gaps, and so much more that you couldn’t possibly catch if you read it every day.
After you’ve let it rest for a couple of weeks and have made any necessary revisions and edits, you’re on your way.
When Should You Move Past Your Own Editing Skills?
When your manuscript is a good as you can get it, it’s time to think about a professional editor. Of course, this depends on your budget, but if at all possible, it’s worth the investment.
If this is not an option, you might give the final manuscript to your critique group or maybe a writing friend or a writer in one of your groups, just to have another set of eyes on it.
While all this reviewing and tweaking is a good thing, there is a point when you need to let it go if you ever want to see your manuscript take off and fly.
It’s important to note that this revision and editing process should take place whether you’re traditionally publishing or self-publishing. Whichever road you take, you want your book to be the best it can be. You want it to be professional.
Just as there are steps to take to get your manuscript ready for flight, there are a couple of things you should avoid.
What to Avoid
- Don’t rely on children.
I’ve had clients who have read their manuscript in front of age-appropriate classrooms or friends of their children.
While this can give some insight as to whether the story is engaging to the targeted reader and which parts are the most engaging, you shouldn’t base revisions and edits solely on their opinion.
Children don’t understand the rules of writing.
- Don’t rely on non-writer, amateur opinions.
I’ve had clients who had friends and other parents read their stories, asking for their input.
Again, while this can be helpful in some aspects, they don’t know the rules of writing.
When looking for those extra eyes on your manuscript, make sure it’s a writer who understands what she’s looking for.
When Should You Let Your Manuscript Fly?
You’ve taken all the steps necessary to get your manuscript in its best shape. Now it’s time to research publishers and/or agents and let your manuscript fly.
If you’re a children’s writer, I recommend Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market (Current Year). This is a trusted guide for authors seeking appropriate publishers and agents.
If you’re NOT a children’s writer, you can check out Writer’s Market (Current Year). It’s also a trusted guide and lists publishers and agents to submit to along with lots of other information.
Always check all information you can find on a publisher or agent you’re interested in. Read their guidelines carefully and follow those guidelines even more carefully.
If you’re self-publishing, it’s time to research professional illustrators (if you’re writing a children’s picture book or chapter book, or even middle grade book).
After illustrations, you’ll need to find a service that will take your files and turn them into ebooks and/or paper books.
Now, watch your manuscript fly.
Whether you need rewriting or ghostwriting, let me take a look a your children’s story. Just send me an email at: email@example.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700
Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!
Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN.