Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Editing — It Makes All the Difference

As a reviewer, I’ve read hundreds of books in a variety of genres. While not every book has been my favorite, what leaves me feeling most disappointed is when I think to myself, “This could have been a great book… if only it had been edited more thoroughly.”

I once read a series of children’s books. I enjoyed the message and loved the characters, but the sheer number of typographical errors distracted me.

A famous author wrote an amazing mystery novel. Do you know what I remember most? In one chapter, the bad guys had kidnapped the hero and taken his belt. In the following chapter, the hero used the belt — the one he no longer had — as a tool to assist in his escape.

In another book, the main character’s mother’s name changed several times and one of the character’s cars was green early in the book, but silver later on.

Now, I’ll admit, I’m not as good at editing my writing as I am at spotting errors in the work of others, but the editing phase of completing a manuscript can’t be rushed. In addition, a critique group and a third party editor will catch errors and inconsistencies you will miss.

Here is how I approach editing my writing. After sending a manuscript to my critique group, I review the feedback and make necessary changes. Then, I let the manuscript sit for at least a week. I go back and perform three rounds of edits: one to pick up typos, one to focus on grammar, and the last to check for inconsistencies. Finally, it's off to an editor to polish it for submission.

Years ago, I interviewed a woman who had been in the entertainment industry for decades. She had written a book about her father, an award-winning composer. Finding a publisher proved difficult. She told me breaking into publishing was more of a challenge than catching a break in entertainment.

In such a market, taking the time to edit your book thoroughly will make a huge difference. Proper editing can turn a good book into a great one.

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, and Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at and her children’s book blog at

1 comment:

  1. Cheryl, editing can be so tricky. I read a article that discussed how it's almost impossible for a writer to catch all the errors in her own work. It has to do with what we expect to see, having written it.