Theoretically at this point you already managed to write a first vomit draft. 100-150 pages of raw material that holds the essence of your plotline. The next step involves polishing your writing over and over until you get a beautiful manuscript you are actually proud of.
Polishing your writing – can it be any more boring?
When I first read my vomit draft I was shocked! “How did I come up with a sentence so twisted to say something so simple?”. Granted, I was drunk some nights – like the saying goes: write drunk but edit sober 🙂 – but still, I was in shock. Much effort was still required.
Each night, I went meticulously through each paragraph, each sentence and each word wondering if it conveyed what I had in mind. Was the plotline coherent? Were there any semantic holes?, etc.
It is a tedious exercise that took me a couple of nights to finish. I estimate that I read my book about 30 times in total, but ultimately I ended up with a coherent piece of work that started to look like something people would enjoy reading.
polishing your writing – proofreading
The point of this chapter is so important that I will just give it straight away: Hire an editor. No questions asked.
I wish someone gave me a straightforward answer as this one. I spent hours googling if hiring an editor was the right move, given that I did not want to spend money on a project that had little promises of results (I had major doubts about by first book, as would anybody I guess).
Now I do not even think about it anymore. Everytime I write a book, be it of 40 pages or 150 pages. I go straight to my editor on upwork.com. It costs me around 150€ for a book of 120 pages and I can stop worrying about a reader discrediting my whole work because I missed a word on page 47…
polishing your writing – give your editor a turn
I went to upwork.com to look for a freelance editor. I gave each contendant a 2 page extract of my book with technical excerpts and a bit of code to see how they handled this type of assignment. It made the selection process much easier and I managed to find an editor I can consistently work with. He understands my style, my sense of humour and suggests interesting improvements!
The version you send to your editor should be the last draft. No more changes after that except what you editor suggested. Remember that every time you add/polish a sentence, you risk introducing more errors in your work.
Bottom of the story is: I will never judge a writer’s talent by the number of spelling mistakes in a blog or a book. EVER!
It is fascinating how the human brain can trick itself into skipping words and letters just to save resources..
This post is part of part of a series of articles about how to write your first ebook:
How to write my first ebook – The idea comes first..or does it?
Defeating the blank page – How to write my first eBook
Naming your ebook to grab attention – How to write my first ebook
Designing ebook cover – How to write my first ebook
KDP exclusive or Go Wide – How to write my first ebook