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Editing your Manuscript: DIY Tips and Professional Resources
Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

So you've written a book, and you're asking yourself, "Do I really need an editor? I'm pretty good at writing, after all. I caught a few mistakes as I went through, and I don't think there are any more. Maybe I should just save money and publish the book as is."


Sorry to burst your bubble, but, to put it bluntly, you're wrong. We ALL need editors! That is, certainly you can and should go through your own manuscript and search for errors. But as authors, we're just too close to our own stories to catch everything. Trust me! It doesn't matter if you've earned an "A" on every English assignment through elementary, middle school, high school, and college. It doesn't matter if you're a full-time writer or an English professor. NOBODY gets it all right all of the time, and that's why professional proofreaders and editors are absolutely essential for authors.

First, some definitions. There's more than one type of editing, after all

What's the Difference between Line, Copy, and Content Editing?

I recommend taking a look at the article at this link. Pavarti K. Tyler explains what each kind involves and why your manuscript needs them.

At the end of this post, I've compiled a list of professionals you can contact for your editing and proofreading needs. In the meantime, let's go over some tips for improving your own writing as much as you can. The more problems you find and fix, the less your editor will have to do, which will probably make the editing process cheaper, quicker, and simpler.

The following posts and articles are ones that I've collected from all over the internet and can highly recommend for their useful content. I recommend checking them out, bookmarking them, and referring back often throughout your writing and editing process.

19 Best Titles for Self-Editing

Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas have compiled a list of helpful books that would make great additions to your library. Best of all, they've organized them in categories according to the level of writing they are intended to help with: big picture, paragraph level, sentence level, word level, and some designed to provide inspiration for writers.

100 Editing and Proofreading Tips for Writers

Duncan Koerber has a lot of useful ideas here, including some on how to even approach the whole process.

The Hard Cut

These are big-picture tips relating to story structure, conflict, character motivation, etc.

How to Edit Description

Do you have too many details in your descriptions? Not enough? Jill Williamson will help you see what to do about either problem.

Hunting Down Story Holes Using a Novel Journal

David Stafford has a unique idea for how to keep track of seasons, location layout, character traits, etc. You don't want to be inconsistent in your story!

How to Strengthen the Theme of Your Book During Edits

Does your book have a theme? Should it? Did you mean to give it one but not start thinking about it until halfway through your first draft? Stephanie Morrill will help you fix that in the editing stage.

Self-Editing Tips

Susan Uhlig has some helpful suggestions, many of which deal with the big picture of your story as opposed to tiny details.

How to Write Well: 10 Essential Self-Editing Tips

C.S. Lakin has some great tips for punctuation, grammar, and a few other issues. Each one is quick to read and easy to understand, but you'll want to go back through your manuscript slowly and carefully to check that you're applying them as well as you can.


We all have words and phrases we tend to use too often without realizing it. Sporkforge will tell you what they are, along with a number of other nifty functions.

20 Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes

In this article, Jon Gingerich lists some common errors, especially between pairs of words that are commonly mixed up (like "continually" vs "continuously"). Better yet, he explains why the right one is the right one for each certain context. It would be a good idea to read through the list, and if anything there surprises you, search for that word in your manuscript and make sure you've used it correctly.

Grammar Girl's Editing Checklist

Another great list of types of mistakes to look for in your writing. You may even want to print this one out and keep it by your computer for reference.

ProWritingAid Review: Is It Worth It?

ProWritingAid is similar to Grammarly, but many authors and editors feel it's better. Check out this review by Kindlepreneur's Dave Chesson, whose valuable insights into many aspects of writing, editing, and publishing have helped me a lot in my own self-publishing journey. You might find that ProWritingAid is just what you need to take your own editing to the next level.

So, what happens after you've done everything you can to edit your own manuscript? Time to turn to the professionals.

Choosing the Right Book Editor

How do you know which editor will work best for you? ChatEBooks has some great suggestions. After you read them, scroll down and browse the list of editors, and check out some of their websites to see what services they offer and who might be right for you.

5 Questions Every Indie Author Must Ask Before Hiring an Editor

Once you've found a few editors who look like a good fit for your book, A. Denefield Jones has some good suggestions about things to ask them before you sign a contract.

And now for the list! Without further ado, here are way more editors than anyone would ever need. 🙂 Just click on their names to visit their websites. (Disclaimer: yes, the first name there is mine. 🙂 I mainly do line editing, but you can check out a full description of my services at the link.)

Annie Douglass Lima

Elise Sherman Abram

Marlene Adelstein

Kate Angelella

Blake Atwood

Judy Beatty

Jennifer Blanchard

Richard Bradburn

Keanan Brand

Grace Bridges

Ellen Campbell

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt

Sherry Kaye Chamblee

Sea Chapman

Laura Chasen

Dario Ciriello

Karen Conlin

Charity Singleton Craig

Karrie Crawford

Nat Davis

Rochelle Deans

Harry DeWulf

Christy Distler

Jill Domschot

Cathi-Lyn Dyck

Elizabeth Easter

Meredith Efken

Joshua Essoe

Elizabeth Evans

Rebecca Faith

Lorna Fergusson

Lindsay A. Franklin

Jonathan Garner

Laurel Garver

Dori Harrell

Jeffrey Hite

Jon Hudspith

Caroline Kaiser

Teresa Kennedy

Nicole Klungle

Mary Kole

Ann Kroeker

C.S. Lakin

Erin Liles

Dave Malone

Steve Mathisen

Megan Maxwell

Andrea Merrell

Katie Morford

Alex McGilvery

Leslie McKee

Fiona McLaren

Victoria Mixon

Roz Morris

Robin Patchen

Anastasia Poirier

Erin Potter

Anne Pottinger

Arlene Prunkl

Jesse Rebock

Ray Rhamey

Elizabeth Ridley

Janell E. Robish

Lauren I. Ruiz

Kevin Salveson

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Rachelle M.N. Shaw

Lauren Spieller

Judith Keefer Tingley

Rachel Starr Thomson

Heather Turner

Amanda Valentine

Katie Vorreiter

Stephanie Aspasia Marshall Ward

Crystal Watanabe

Brenda Wilbee

Lara Willard

Ben Wolf

Linda Yezak

Carla Young

Ginny Ytrrup

Do you know any other editors you'd like to recommend? Can you think of some great self-editing tips not mentioned here? Feel free to tell us in the comments!


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