10 Steps to Edit your Book for SUCCESS

edit-button-hiYIPPEE! Kai-ay!

I’ve finished #9 critical steps in editing my latest book. It’s almost ready for the crucial #10 step. Astute editing will transform my story so it’s ready for publishing.

Why did I Edit my Book?

Editing polishes your writing until it sparkles and shines with the gloss of a professional. A polished piece of writing hooks a reader from the beginning, holding them to the last word. Thorough editing maximizes your chances of publishing and getting your book out into the world.

10 Steps to Edit your Book

1. Write the very BEST story you can. Create a page turning, intriguing story with compelling characters the reader really cares about.

2. Read your story out aloud to pick up any mistakes and flaws.


3. STRUCTURAL EDIT: Take a close examination of the overall structure of your story and answer these questions…

**Does the story flow and make sense?

**First sentence: Is your first sentence powerful, hooking the reader in?

**First page: Does your first page anchor and orientate the Reader to the setting, the main character and the problem, hooking us even more? Does the first page set up the story and the conflict? Do you care about the main character?

**Overall story arc: Does the story build up to a climax?

**Ending: Is the ending satisfying to the reader? Are all the questions resolved?

**Are the story events sequenced logically? What is missing from the story?

4. Join a critique group, preferably one who meets face-to-face. Learn how to critique so you can critique writer’s manuscripts in exchange.

5. Submit your manuscript to this critique group at their agreed wordage or number of pages.

6. Rewrite your manuscript several times, using positive feedback and suggestions from your Crit Buddies.

7. Ask Beta readers (your most valued Crit Buddies) to read your entire manuscript and offer suggestions for improvement via comment boxes, concentrating on perfecting the structure. Rewrite again … and again.

8. LINE EDIT your manuscript against a VIP list to improve each line…

**Eliminate unnecessary modifiers which weaken your sentence i.e. possibly, simply, really, totally, very, supposedly, seriously, terribly, kind of, usually, extremely, almost, mostly, practically, probably, and quite.

**Search for extraneous that’s and ands. Either delete or rephrase the sentence.

**Eliminate all clichés. Replace with powerful prose or original metaphors and similes.

**Replace repeated words and phrases with a different word for variety.

**Check each sentence makes sense, taking the story forward. Delete unnecessary sentences.

**Check tenses and overall sentence structure is grammatically correct.

**Rewrite, rephrase, reconfigure. The more times you rewrite your sentences, the sharper they’ll become.


9. WORD EDIT your manuscript against this VIP list to improve the vocabulary:

**Replace boring verbs e.g. get, give, sat, say, see, stood, use, want, walk with words and phrases that have energy

**Swap lazy adjectives with better word picture and metaphors. e.g. easy, nice, interesting, wonderful, big, fine, bad, exciting, good, little, strange.

**Delete adverbs ending in ly unless they change the way the verb behaves e.g. whispered loudly = OK but whispered softy = no-no.

**Remove all unnecessary or overused words e.g. that, very, just, because, then etc

**Amp every verb and noun to the MAX, to the strongest they can be.

**Check spelling using spellcheck or a dictionary/ thesaurus

10. Send your manuscript to the very best editor you can afford. I recommend you request a structural edit as well as a line edit.

editingtypesHow did I, Karen Tyrrell edit my published books?

I joined a Brisbane face-to-face critique group for children’s writers Write Links and sent my manuscript to three Beta Readers … and followed ALL the steps above.

So far, I ‘ve successfully edited and published six award-winning resilience books which are available from Amazon and book shops.



YIPPEE! Yesterday I sent my action-packed children’s novel to my editor Penny Springthorpe (ex-Penguin and ex-Scholastic ) for a final comprehensive edit … I can’t wait to announce my new book title. I’m bursting with excitement 🙂 🙂

How did you edit YOUR Book?

What steps did you take to create a story with the highest publishing standards?

 Please leave your comment below. Please LIKE, share, Tweet, and Google plus 🙂

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6 comments to 10 Steps to Edit your Book for SUCCESS

  • Michael Hearde

    It’s a helpful and practical guide that aspiring authors can utilise. Good stuff young lady.

  • Hi Michael,
    Thanks so much for checking out my editing guide for authors. Please tell your writing friends about it … Karen 🙂

  • I published my second book caled “Candlelight in a Storm”. Thank you for your tips all ten points put in a concise way. I almost went through the same: First I reead a lot of books on writing, for living in Germany I was not sure about the present-day English. I got the book edited by “2nd Edit” where I got the good critique. Then I knew I was on the right track. In the meanwhile the book has been presented in Book Fairs. Now I am reading a historical fiction, poorly written where in the very first few pages some 5 cardinal mistakes have been made by the author, all mentioned in the books on writing. I don’t have a critque club or the like in the vicinity of hundreds of km, for this is Germany. Can you help me out here?

  • Hi Naveen,
    Thanks for getting in touch with me.
    Here’s a couple of ways you may be able to find a critique group…
    1. Join lots of Facebook writing groups in your genre. Ask there if anyone would be interested in swapping manuscripts for critique. Suggest 5 pages to start with.
    2. Join a face to face writing group in your home town. Suggest you critique each others writing.
    3. Start your own critique group in your town with the help of your local library. Advertise for members.
    Hope this helps, wishing you all the best with your writing… Cheers, Karen 🙂

  • Hi Karen

    Fabulous article, great advice. You have come a long way. Proud of you!


  • Hi Gail,
    Thanks for commenting here … and for being the very first Editor to edit my short stories many years ago … Karen 🙂

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