5 Self-Editing Tips to Take Your Book From Good to Great

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Do you know what the top complaint on Amazon is for self-published books? It’s the lack of professional editing.

Prior to having your book professionally edited, you need to self-edit it. This will allow your editor to focus on the non-obvious errors and upgrade your book.

Here are a few ways to self-edit:

1. Remove unnecessary adverbs.

One of the best quotes from Stephen King on writing is, “I believe the road to Hell is paved with adverbs…”

Yes, adverbs will likely make your writing slightly weaker. Remove the adverbs from the prior sentence and it will be stronger. See - Adverbs will make your writing weaker.

Check your writing for those adverbs with the find feature. The easiest way is to do is a search for “ly”.

When you find those word look at the verb is modifying. Is there a stronger verb you can use instead? This is a good time to pull out your thesaurus.

For example instead of writing “quietly talked” try “whispered” instead.

2. Remove those favorites.

Moms will tell you they don’t have a favorite kid. While that might be true, most people have a favorite word or phrase.

Words and phrases such as – like, just, that, and I’ll always remember can weaken your writing if overused.

If you want a stronger experience for your readers you need to edit these words out when you read back through your writing. 

Use your find feature again. This time for words and phrases you know you overuse.

Will the sentence work without them? If so, remove them. If not, keep them in or look for a substitute word.

3. Read through it and look for any sentences that you stumble on.

As you read, if you have to pause and reread any sentence rewrite it. You knew what you intended so the reading should be easy for you. Imagine what these awkward sentences will be like for your reader who had no clue what you wanted to say.

When you stumble, stop and rewrite that sentence until it flows with no stumbling.

4. Read your work out loud.

One of the simplest ways to make your writing sound better is through reading your writing out loud.

It’s amazing what you can find when you do this.

This also gives you an idea of what readers will be listening to when they buy your audio book.

5. Use additional software with advanced editing features.

Use the editing function that comes with your word processer. On top of that, there are other amazing self-editing options available.

Grammarly is one of my favorites for books. I love the Hemmingway app for shorter writing pieces. Google them and you too will be able to see the magical difference they make in your writing.

There are 5 easy tips for you to use to self-edit your book (and any other writing that you do). Remember that you will also need to hire a professional editor in addition to this.

Story Banks: A Must Have Writing Tool

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What is a story bank? It’s a free treasure chest of gems for you.

A story bank is a list of stories that you keep to use in your future writing (or speeches). I keep my writing bank in my phone’s note section.

It doesn’t have many details, just enough so that I will remember when I need to pull one out.

Here is an example of the first item in my current story bank.

It says, “Watching the reconnection between a father and kids at the airport.” Simple right?

My heart beats faster just reading that on the phone screen. That could be used in a post about balance or a post about how the simple things in business and life can bring us joy.

Here’s another example.

Imagine you’re ten years old and tell your best friend this great idea at recess. It’s a new combination of toppings that you want to try at the sundae store. Walking in from recess you hear your friend tell another girl with blond braids about this great idea claiming it’s her own. How do you feel?

That’s a story that most people can relate to in one way or another.

Why use a story? There are so many reasons including it makes you more relatable and engages your audience more.

When you have a funny experience or something catches your heart record it for future use. Especially if it is an experience your ideal client would have.

What are the things in your everyday life that you can tie back to your business?

For example, something about a trip to Target if your ideal client shops there. Some of the most engaging business posts I have seen have had Target stories in them.

Another example is how you handle the frustration of a long line. You could also consider stories about comparing yourself at the beach, your kid having a melt down at the store, or date night with your hubby.

Each of those stories above can be tied back to your business. Take a bit of time to brainstorm and you will see the ties that can be there.

You will engage your audience and make your post more valuable. It adds so much to a book as well.