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10 steps to go through before you publish your work

Well...there are quite a few things an author goes through before they are published. But, these are some I've encountered. So, while I wait. I've decided to venture into short stories. This way I can some how come up with that perfect end to the next saga with Chloe.

1. Rest Your Manuscript.

I couldn't say this better. But, it's important you put it away for a few days a few weeks would be ideal. This way, once you pull it out again. It's like reading a new book with a fresh set of eyes.

2. Listen to your Manuscript.

Well, it's not going to talk to your per say. However, once you read it aloud. You can pick up on those missed words. You know, those you've auto-corrected without realizing it. Great editing tool!

3. Search for Troubling words.

You know, the ones we always cross up or maybe it's just me. But, here's a list below.

Excerpted from the first chapter of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing:

a lot/alot affect/effect can/may further/farther good/well i.e./e.g. into/in to it’s/its lay/lie less/fewer that/who their/they’re/there then/than who/whom your/you’re

4. Remove or replace your crutch words.

What are crutch words? Well...they're similar to your top five friends. The ones that are bad for you, but you still hang on to them like a bad disease. Maybe, that's too strong of a word but you get my drift. Any who, check out the site below. It will help you identify those words.

Scrivener makes it simple to discover your crutch words and is available for Mac, iOS, and Windows users. In Scrivener’s top menu, go to “Project > Text Statistics,” then click on the arrow next to “Word frequency.” If necessary, click the “Frequency” header twice to sort your words by frequency. You’ll then be presented with what could be a jarring list of the words you might be overusing. (To include your entire manuscript in the frequency count, be sure to have your entire manuscript selected in Scrivener’s Binder.)

For Microsoft Word users, there’s a free Word Usage and Frequency add-in, but other, less technical online solutions may also help, like’s Online Word Counter or WriteWords’ Word Frequency Counter.

No matter how you determine your crutch words, go back through your manuscript and see where you can remove or replace them.

5. Remove all double spaces at the end of sentences.

You're not alone. If you're in my age bracket, this was required. Don't try to guess my age, lol. But, I was hurt when I completed my first manuscript and I found out I had to remove these. Thank goodness for the search and replace keys in Word. Also, if you're using Create Space. Don't forget to remove the tabs!

6. Search for problematic punctuation

If you're having problems with certain punctuation, highlight them throughout your manuscript and find the correct usage or consult an editor for help.

7. Run spell check or use an automated editing program

Don't get too accustomed to those little squiggly lines underneath misspelled words. Sometimes they are beneficial, but like those troubling words if spelled correctly it won't pick it up. However, do a spell check prior to sending to a potential publisher, editor or beta reader.

8. Subscribe to The Chicago Manual of Style

As Stephen King so eloquently said it, "To write is human, to edit is divine.” When an editor returns your manuscript, they may cite particular sections of The Chicago Manual of Style. If you’re unfamiliar with this Bible of the publishing industry, you may not be aware of precisely why the editor made a certain change. By subscribing to CMOS (it’s only $35 a year), you’ll be able to look up issues on your own before sending your manuscript off to an editor or beta reader. Sure, you shouldn’t get too hung up on some of the issues (editors have their jobs for a reason), but learning more about the mechanics of writing can only help you become a better writer.You can also buy the hard copy version of The Chicago Manual of Style, but I recommend the online version for its ease of use.

9. Format accordingly

You have one shot to make a good impression. Why not put your best words forward. While styles different, you want to you show your professionalism by formatting your manuscript to conform to industry standards. This makes it easier for beta readers to consume, and editors prefer industry-standard formatting, which allows them more time to edit your actual words instead of tweaking your formatting. Some basic formatting tips: Send your manuscript as a Word document (.doc or .docx).Use double-spaced line spacing. If you’ve already written your book with different line spacing, select all of your text in Word, click Format > Paragraph, then select “Double” in the drop down box under “Line spacing.”Use a single space following periods.Use black, 12-point, Times New Roman as the font.Don’t hit tab to indent paragraphs. In Word, select all of your text, then set indentation using Format > Paragraph. Under “Indentation” and by “Left,” type .5. Under “Special,” choose “First line” from the drop down menu. [Note: Nonfiction authors may opt for no indention, but if they do so they must use full paragraph breaks between every paragraph.]The first paragraph of any chapter, after a subheader, or following a bulleted or numbered list shouldn’t be indented.Use page breaks between chapters. In Word, place the cursor at the end of a chapter, then click “Insert > Break > Page Break” in Word’s menu.

10. Don’t over-edit

Writelife sums it up with this statement, "Set aside an hour or two to go through this list with your manuscript, but be careful about over-editing. You may start seeing unnecessary trees within your forest of words, but you don’t want to raze to the ground what you’ve toiled so hard to grow.

A middle path exists between exhausting yourself in a vain attempt for perfection and being too lazy to run spell check. Do yourself and your book a favor and self-edit, but be careful not to go overboard.

If you’re creating a professional product, your self-edits shouldn’t be your last line of defense against grammatical errors. In other words, I don’t offer this post to write myself out of a job. Even in going through the self-editing steps above, you’ll still need an editor to ensure that your manuscript is as polished as possible.

Plus, going through the editing process with a professional editor will help you become a better self-editor the next time you write a book."

Happy Writing or Reading!

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