Why a Booked Blog Manuscript Needs Editing

Compiling a blogged book manuscript from all those posts you’ve previously written can be a big job—especially if you didn’t do a good job of organizing your blog with categories and tags. If you did, the manuscript may have come together pretty easily. However, as I mentioned in my last post, all you have now is a bunch of posts lumped together into the framework of a book. It’s not a book. It’s hardly a manuscript. Let me explain why.

A true first draft of a book will flow easily from chapter to chapter, section to section, paragraph to paragraph. What you have compiled does not do that…yet. The reason is simple: The posts you previously wrote, while well-written, and published were meant as stand-alone pieces of work. That’s why you now have to create flow. You have to write into the spaces that exist between them. In other words, you have to create transitions between the posts that create the illusion that all that content was written at the same time and belongs together.

In fact, it does belong together. The subjects all can be woven together. But that takes some work. So, let’s talk about that process, which is called revision and editing.

The first part of the process should really be the work you do. You sit down with that manuscript and start reading. Then you look for ways to improve your blog posts and to create that flow between the posts. This can involve:

  • Removing excessive use of lists.
  • Adding transitions.
  • Removing active links (for print books).
  • Removing mention of previous posts or next posts.
  • Editing out redundancies or any repetition.
  • Adding missing information.
  • Answering questions you feel you left unanswered.
  • Addressing readers’ comments and questions.
  • Incorporating readers’ comments and anecdotes.
  • Checking your grammar and spelling.
  • Removing blog titles and choosing the ones that work as subtitles.
  • And more…

When you’ve finished this process, you hopefully have a manuscript—the first draft of your blogged book. Now it’s time to hire a professional book editor.

Do not skip this step. Please. If you do, you will doom your book. This is true whether you plan on getting it traditionally published or self-published, but it is essential for those of you who plan on taking the indie route.

Let me touch on traditional publishing first. If you want to seek out a literary agent, you will need a book proposal. This document, along with your query letter, is, as they say, your first and only chance to make a good impression. Don’t blow it with poorly written or edited or proofread documents. Take your two best chapters (about 25 pages), place them in the proposal, and then have it professionally edited by someone who knows something about book proposals and books. That means do not ask your high school English teacher, your mother, you spouse, or your best friend to do this. Pay good money for a professional book editor and book proposal consultant (yes, like me or someone on my staff—sorry for the ad).

If you are planning to be an indie author, you do not want your book to stand out as self-published. It will if you do two things: (1) fail to have it professionally edited. (2) fail to have it professionally designed. The reason for this is simple. Traditionally published books are both professionally edited and designed. So…to have your book meet the same standards, you need both these things. That means you have to bite the bullet and pay for these professional services. No, they aren’t always cheap, but they are worth it in the long run.

Next week I will discuss how to choose an editor and what type of editor you need for your blogged book.

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