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How to Self-Edit Your Own EBook

November 26, 2011 · 5 comments

in More Opportunities

If you’ve always wanted to be a published author, you no longer have to wait for an agent or publisher to sign you and agree to produce your book. You can do it yourself. More and more hopeful writers are going the self-publishing route. It is difficult, but in the end it is also extremely satisfying. If you want to do it yourself, self-publishing an ebook is a very viable option. With the growing popularity of ebooks and ebook readers like the Kindle, electronic books can bring you high visibility and profit. With an ebook you can do everything by yourself – from writing to formatting to listing it on ebook shelves. You can also self-edit your ebook, and here are some tips for doing so.

 Treat an Ebook Like a Book

Truthfully, there isn’t too much difference between editing an ebook versus a traditional book. You will want to make sure you treat your ebook the same. Just because it will not be printed does not mean you can get away with any lower-quality product. It is still important to carefully edit your work, because readers will expect a polished and refined finish.

 Take a Break

Before you begin self-editing your ebook, it’s a good idea to step away from your work and wait a period of time before beginning. At least a day, longer whenever possible, is a good time frame to wait before editing. This will help you come at your book with a clear and fresh mind.

 Print It Out

It will help you to edit your book if you print a copy and read from actual pieces of paper rather than stare at a computer screen.

 Read Aloud

Even if you think it’s silly, read your book aloud as you go. This will help you immensely to recognize how your work actually sounds and where you could make improvements in style and tone. It will also help you catch mistakes in grammar and punctuation.

Edit for Content

The first thing to edit for is your content. Does everything your book contains relate to the topic? Are your plot lines or details consistent throughout? Are your facts accurate and up to date?

 Edit for Style

Next edit your ebook for style. Does it have a good rhythm and flow? Can you replace any long, complicated words or sentences with something simpler? Is there any parts that are hard to understand or follow? You want your ebook to be easy to read.

 Proofread

Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation and grammar until the end. Comb through your ebook carefully, and consider using a spelling and grammar checker to help you identify potential errors. It will undermine the credibility of your book if it contains careless mistakes.

 Check for Consistent Formatting

Lastly, check that the formatting in your ebook is consistent throughout. Make sure your title and heading styles and fonts are all the same. Use consistent spacing, sizing and indentation.

 Take Another Break and Do It Again

After you’ve completed self-editing, take another break of at least another week, and read through your ebook one more time. Make sure that you’ve made all the necessary changes and that the finished product is exactly how you want it. If it’s not, edit again, and repeat the process until you’re satisfied.

 Get a Second Opinion

Before you publish your ebook, you may want to get a second opinion of someone you trust. Ask them to read your book and give you constructive feedback. You need to hear more than whether they like it or not, like what they would suggest to help you improve your book.

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Ruth Johnson is a proliferous writer. Currently she spends her time writing about technology trends from gadgets to apps.

Ruth has written 1 awesome articles for us at Opportunities Planet

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Fatima Hipolito December 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

Hi Ruth thanks for sharing this it was really helpful to everyone have problem to edit their ebook and specially to me..
Fatima Hipolito recently posted..יועצת שינהMy Profile

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Beth Steelman June 1, 2012 at 3:37 am

Great points, especially about taking a break and walking away, preferably for a day or more, before coming back and doing more editing. An additional point regarding getting a second opinion, I would also make sure that the person you ask for that second opinion is capable of detecting basic punctuation/grammar errors and is willing to point them out to you. I have read a lot of self-published books on the web and love the freedom it gives for authors to get something out that I otherwise might not have been able to enjoy — however, I definitely note a lot more simple errors that spellcheck isn’t going to catch (their/there/they’re, etc.) than I see in traditionally published books. (I just read one today and the word on the page was “patience” when clearly by the context of the sentence what was intended was “patient’s.”)

I recommend combining the tips above of reading outloud and getting a second opinion. This was an old trick that we did years ago (when still using actual typewriters, lol), as seceretaries or clerical positions – one person would read it outloud while the second opinion followed along, and to this day, “most” transcriptionists proof their work by listening to the audio they just transcribed while reading their work, to confirm accuracy of content, but also to check spelling, punctuation, etc. You just seem more focused on what you’re reading if you’re also listening to someone reading it outloud and you’re following along.

Thanks for the information, good stuff!

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Beth Steelman June 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Just as a correction, the website linked as “Beth Steelman recently posted” is incorrect. The link associated with my name at the top of the post is correct, however, the “recently posted” is a different site and not mine. Thanks.

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