Friday, April 9, 2010

Editing Tip #28: Getting Published (part three)

Kathy Ide’s Editing Tips
© Kathy Ide, 2010

In this column, freelance author, editor, and speaker Kathy Ide shares tips on self-editing your manuscript.

~ GETTING PUBLISHED (part three) ~

Honing Your Skills

Whatever write, if you want to try to get it published, get some training. The general public tends to figure anyone who can write a sentence should be able to get published. They don’t realize how many skills and techniques are involved.

Study the craft of writing. Read books. Attend classes. Take online courses. Go to writers’ conferences and workshops. Learn how to write really well.

Learn the mechanics too. If you’re planning to write a book, get a copy of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and The Chicago Manual of Style (the reference manuals used by book publishers in the U.S.). If you want to write for Christian publishers, get a copy of The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style. Study the rules and apply them to your manuscript.

If you’re writing an article, get The Associated Press Stylebook and Webster’s New World College Dictionary (the reference manuals used by newspapers and journalistic magazines).

The competition is fierce in the publishing industry. There are many talented authors out there who have put in their time and learned how to do their job right. If you expect to join them, you need to study and develop your skill too.

Polishing Your Manuscript

Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking your first draft is going to be publishable. You will need to rewrite, revise, edit, and polish the manuscript multiple times until it's the best it can possibly be.

After you’ve written the best manuscript you think you can, show it to some people, preferably members of your target audience and some published authors, and incorporate their ideas. Join a critique group and get additional suggestions from fellow writers. Hire a professional editor to give you even more recommendations for improvement.

Chances are, you’ll only get one opportunity to impress a publisher and convince them to accept your book. You can’t afford to send them anything that’s not your absolute best.


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Kathy Ide has written books, articles, play and movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and curriculum. Her books include Polishing the PUGS and Fiction and Truth. Kathy is a full-time freelance editor, offering a full range of editorial services for authors and publishers. She also speaks at writers’ conferences across the country. She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( and the Christian Editor Network ( To find out more, please visit

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