What to do with an independent completed unedited manuscript
by D.A. & M.P. Wearmouth
For most people the idea of writing a book is a lifetime achievement and a milestone in their own personal development. The completed manuscript of a first time author represents months, perhaps years of effort and in the writers mind is almost (never fully!) perfect.
At this point in the evolution of a novel, the author should consider their next steps carefully to follow the right path and achieve the success they desire. When an author writes a book they are not necessarily hoping to achieve thousands of sales on Amazon and be recognised as the next Sebastian Faulks. In many cases the book can be a personal story or statement from the authors own mind and therefore they feel it is essential to maintain their message, without pre-publication review or editing. This type of writing is perfectly legitimate and should be viewed as a very brave method of baring your soul through the medium of words. Although derided by some, the lifetime achievement of writing your own book is on the bucket list of almost everyone. With Amazons KDP select allowing simple self-publication, there is nothing to stop this type of author achieving their dream and trying to reach other like-minded people.
Alternatively in order to appeal to a mass market a considerable amount of review, editing and beta reading is required. A writer should be prepared to have their manuscript vigorously reviewed, pulled apart in some cases and every aspect of writing style, character development and plot questioned.
Firstly, the author should contact a content editor. The editor should be experienced in their genre and be able to demonstrate editing work on other titles for the authors own appraisal. Once appointed the editor will give the manuscript a thorough assessment and make recommendations for improvement. The author should trust their editor and accept suggestions and criticism of the work without any feeling of annoyance or failure, their recommendations will improve the overall quality of the completed book.
Secondly, with a revised and edited manuscript the author should approach a selection of beta readers. The beta readers must be a cross section of the population and ideally unconnected to the author. It has been suggested that one indie author used approximately 100 beta readers before publication. It is useful to include some kind of feedback form for the beta reader to complete in order to compare opinions on certain aspects of the book.
Thirdly, a completed final manuscript can be submitted back to the content editor. The manuscript should have been improved following the guidance of both editor and beta readers. The editor will once again critique the book and subject to proposed revision will be almost complete.
Finally, a copy edit is required to the completed manuscript for general grammatical, spelling and word usage amendments. It is important to note the difference between the editor roles, a copy editor should be selected in a similar way to the content editor, checking for experience in the genre and evidence of completed works.
After completing the above stages, the book will be ready for publication and is likely to have evolved into a well-structured and paced novel.
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Genre – Horror/Science Fiction
Rating – R