Sunday, November 1, 2015

Your Novel Doesn't Sell? You Can Change That. (Part Three)

This is the third part of my series on what you can do if your novel doesn't sell. I've previously written about getting your novel critiqued and moving life-or-death trouble up to the beginning, preferably the first sentence. Next,

C) When you've rewritten your book, get it professionally edited by a book editor who isn't your friend or relative, then rewrite, then get another edit. You might say, "But my daughter majored in English and got straight As. She is a great editor." Sorry, this is like working with a critique group. In the beginning especially, the value of editing is connected to the fact that your editor is a professional editor who doesn't know you.

Note that editing is different from critique. Critique comes just after you've finished your first or second draft. Critique is about the big picture, the story arc, the characters and their motivations, the rising plot curve, the big reveals.

Editing comes after you've figured out all that other stuff and rewritten your book three or four or seventeen times. Editing is polishing. Editing is fixing all the little glitches, polishing the rough spots, making sure your POVs are consistent, that you don't have two chapter 39s (as I once did). Editing is making sure your words are spelled correctly. Editing is making sure that your book follows the dictates of a consistent style. For example, the Chicago Manual of Style says that numerals are okay in many places in your prose but that numbers should be spelled out in dialogue as people speak words not numerals. There are a hundred stylistic things like this.

Stay tuned for Part Four...

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