14 March 2016 – Is it possible to edit your own book?
There is a yes and a no side to this. For Making Headlines I did get advice from The Writers’ Workshop who matched my book with one of their editors. The advice I got was good and the editor pointed out a lot of the book’s shortcomings. However, due to being made redundant, I couldn’t retain this editor for the rewrite and final 5th draft. I started to become overwhelmed and bogged down with Making Headlines and it was suggested by another author / editor, Kevin Frato, to put the project to the side and start writing something else. I did this and my second novel Let Go was the result. During the time it took to write Let Go and going back to Making Headlines, a gap was created where I was able to look at Making Headlines from a new perspective, and almost like a new book. I edited as best I could and I decided to release Making Headlines to really say goodbye to the characters that I had been weighing me down for years. If I am honest, Making Headlines could have done with another round of editing before it was released, but I have learnt from my mistakes. So, yes – you can edit your own book so long as you put a lot of distance between you and the completion of your final draft so that your book feels new when you look at it again. However, you also need to know how to edit and this isn’t so straightforward. If you have studied creative writing, then this will stand you in good stead. I would recommend Butcher’s copy-editing book as a reference book and The Editor’s Companion if you want good pointers in editing, but I will say that considering hiring an editor is a good idea. If you choose the self-editing route then you need to know what you are looking for in order to be able to edit successfully, and you need to erase what you have written from your brain. There is a tendency for people to go blind when trying to evaluate their own work, and asking friends and family to review your book is not an alternative.