Edit your Book 10 Steps to PERFECTION


Edit your Book: 10 STEPS to PERFECTION

YIPEE! Kai-ay!

I, Karen Tyrrell,  finished #9 critical steps in editing her action-packed children’s superhero novel, Song Bird 2.

This week, Song Bird 2 zoomed off to its crucial #10 step. Astute editing will transform it for publishing.

Why Edit your 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, gripping them to the very last word. Thorough editing maximizes your chances of publishing. So your book rockets out to 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. Hook the reader in on every page.
  2. Read your story out aloud to pick up any mistakes and flaws.

edit your book


Examine the overall structure of your story. Answer these questions.

**Does your 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? VITAL: 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 answered and resolved?

**Are the story events sequenced logically? What’s missing from the story?

  1. Join a critique group, preferably one who meets face-to-face. Learn how to critique so you can critique writer’s manuscripts in exchange for yours. I recommend joining Write Links, if you write books for children.
  2. Submit your manuscript, in chapters to your critique group.
  3. Rewrite your manuscript several times, using positive feedback and suggestions from your Crit Buddies.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Examine tenses and overall sentence structure is grammatically correct.

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

edit your book

  1. 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

  1. Send your manuscript to the very best editor you can afford. I recommend a structural edit as well as a line edit to amp up your manuscript for SUPER success.

editingtypesHow did I, Karen Tyrrell edit my published books?

I joined a Brisbane face-to-face critique group for children’s writers Write Links. Each month I submit 2-3 chapters for critique and feedback. Then I rewrite them until they shine.

After 3 or 4 drafts, I sent my manuscript to three trusted Beta Readers … and followed ALL the steps above.

So far, I’ve successfully edited and published eight award-winning books to empower available from Amazon and book shops. I published Song Bird Superhero (Song Bird #1) in September 2016. Check out the reviews. HERE



Song Bird Superhero (Song Bird #1)

YIPPEE! This week I sent my action-packed children’s novel, Song Bird 2 to my professional editor (who’s ex-Penguin and ex-Scholastic) via Book Cover Cafe  for a final comprehensive edit.

I can’t wait to announce my new book title and cover. I’m bursting with excitement ? ?

How do you edit YOUR book? … What do you recommend?

Thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts below.

Please leave your comment. LIKE, share, Tweet & Google plus ?


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13 comments to Edit your Book 10 Steps to PERFECTION

  • Great list, Karen! I’m going to bookmark this and tell students to check it out! There’s some gold in that list!
    Thanks, and all the best with Song Bird 2. I can’t wait to see what title you choose and your new cover!

  • Hi Alison,
    Thanks so much for being both an awesome Crit buddy and Beta reader.
    Thanks for all your wonderful feedback and suggestions especially on the book title. YES, I’ve changed it.
    This week Trevor Salter, illustrator and book cover designer Anthony Puttee start on the cover. Can’t wait to show you.
    I’m thrilled you’re sharing my editing guide with your school students too. Hugs, Karen x 🙂

  • C.Carne

    Very handy list to guide ones editing activities. Nice work Karen

  • Thanks so much for saying.

    Very kind of you to drop by to check out my editing guide … Karen x

  • Jacqui Halpin

    Great advice, Karen! 🙂

  • Awesome steps, Karen. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes with Song Bird 2. If it’s as good as the first it will be a hit.

  • Thanks Jacqui,
    For your awesome suggestions and feedback both as a Crit buddy over last year. And for your detailed study of the entire manuscript as a beta reader. Much appreciated … Karen 🙂

  • Thanks Norah,
    For come over to take a look at my editing guide.
    Thanks for reading Song Bird Superhero and for your positive expectations for Song Bird 2.
    I have a team of professionals working on Song Bird 2. My aim to to create, an engaging original story kids will love … Karen 🙂

  • Thanks Karen, just what I needed, been hesitant sending my PB MS in! Congrats on Song Bird 2 ?

    Elizyotta x

  • Hi Elizyotta,
    Thanks for dropping by. Thrilled my editing tips will help you take a closer look at your picture book before you send it to a publisher. Best wishes… Karen 🙂

  • Great advice, Karen. Your tips for self-editing are easy to follow and will be immensely helful to many writers. Self-editing followed by professional editing is the ideal recipe 🙂

    Congratulations on Song Bird Superhero 🙂

  • …and there’s a typo that slipped through before I could stop the submit! ‘helpful’ 🙂

  • Hi Gail,
    Thanks so much for checking out my Editing Guide. Thrilled you like them.
    I agree … self-editing followed by professional editing … Karen 🙂
    Thanks for being my first editor … so long ago 🙂

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