Friday, May 1, 2015

How Many Times Do You Revise Your Manuscript

In discussions with other writers, I've found there are those who seem to think going through their book once, maybe twice, is enough. If you're a writing your first, or even your second book, you need to go over it again and again - in fact quite a few times before it will be ready for either sending it to a publisher or editor. 

I've developed my own plan to make sure my books are getting the right amount of critiquing before I decide it's ready for my editor, Susan. And even with all the eyes on it, she still finds mistakes. That's normal, and it reminds me how important it is to have reliable people in your corner.

My team is awesome, if I do say so myself. I don't know how I would put out high quality self-published books without them. From my two critique partners, to Susan, my manuscripts are thoroughly scanned. Sure, there might be a mistake here and there once it's published, but no one's perfect. Even several traditionally published books I've read have mistakes.

If you can put together a team of people to help you with your revisions and realize that your writing is not perfect and you must deal with the marks, then you are truly blessed. I'll list my little program and maybe it will encourage you to seek out some people you can trust and are willing to be a part of your team. Of course you will reciprocate with being their critique partner also. 

1. I have two critique partners - Janet and Robin. I began with Robin. Her and I started meeting once a week and had no idea what we were doing. But as time went on, we got a little better at it. Janet had joined the writing group Robin and I were in. She asked to join in with us with critiques, and well, the rest is history. I think we've been working together for close to 4 years now. Janet is great with story structure and plots. Robin is really strong with dialog. Believe me, they are both much better at it than I am.

2. I have a "Junior" editor - Michael. Michael and I had been internet friends for years. He is an author and when he heard I was writing my first book, offered to help with edits. He and I developed a plan. When I went through the critique marks from Janet and Robin, I would then send it to him for a new set of eyes. He has been there for me since the start of Fable. And he's really good!

3. When I've gone through the entire book with the three of them, I read it aloud to my mother, who was an editor for government type books. She is good at letting me know if something doesn't sound correct, or needs added, or cut.

4. I read it myself, and as I find things to fix, I write them down on my big board at home. After I've gone through the entire book, I go back with my list and fix those things.

5. Next, my two wonderful beta-readers - Ken and Jessi. Ken is great at going through the book and marking down things he sees by line and page number and listing what needs fixed. His work proved invaluable to me. Jessi is the read straight through and let me know how it flows. Both of them are awesome and a big part of my editing process.

6. After I fix anything they've found, it then goes to my professional editor, Susan. She usually has the book for a month or so and then I get back her marks. After I go through the book one more time and fix everything, I just read it - usually to my husband.

When all that has been done, I publish. I try to make sure my books have all the care I can give to put out a professional self-pub. I think with all the self-pubs out there, it's important to stand out. A lot of self-pub authors don't take the time to make sure it's right. It will effect your sales in the long run.

So this is my novel mantra. I sure hope you've developed your own or find the great people that I have. It makes all the difference in the world to put out a clean, tight, flowing book. 

Leave me a comment and let me know what your strategy is. I'm always looking for great ideas and I hope I left you with some.

Until next week, have a great one and keep on writing!

Love, Lisa


  1. Great advice. I have come across screen writers who have done the same. I have asked those writers how many times they had gone over their scripts. Their answers, "twice." I had to do much editing. I have gone over my manuscripts repeatedly and have found multiple mistakes. Good read. Blessings.

    1. Thanks Johnny for sharing your thoughts! Yeah, I think we can go through one hundred times and still find mistakes, but there will be much fewer than only twice. Just curious, what scripts have you worked on that I might be familiar with? Thanks again, my friend! I hope all is good in your neck of the woods! ;-)