In preparing to dive into his final review before I begin editing his nonfiction book, this conscientious author sent me this request:Any guidance you can offer as to how to attack the beast, make smooth progress in the next two weeks and not get sucked in or bogged down but ultimately be helpful to you?
My best advice to him applies to all authors at this stage of the process.
As you review every section, focus on content while asking these questions.
- Have I included all the pertinent points that say what I want to say here?
- Are any points missing?
- Are all points relevant? (If not, now is the time to delete them.)
- Would it be helpful to refer the reader to a section or a resource for additional information? (This could be a website, a book, your book, your website, another place in manuscript, Resources, etc.)
Before moving on to the next section, flag the quality of the writing in that section.
- Is it smooth, awkward, or in between (okay)? You could simply use initials S, A, OK.
For the sake of speed and continuity, only label the writing; don’t rework it. Then any part you label “awkward,” decide if you want to
- rework it after the initial run through, or
- leave it for your editor to rework, or
- do a combination of both.
Also, include a note to your editor about your thoughts/actions. You might say: “I reworked this a bit but it could use more smoothing out.”
During this initial content-focused run through, be sure to take off your author’s hat and wear your reader’s hat. Do your best to “see” it from your reader’s viewpoint—a tricky thing to accomplish, but doing so will make a huge difference.
What points of advice would you add? Share them here.