Edmond P. DeRousse

You’ve written it! Now What?   

Editing your manuscript!
It is done! You are ready to send your baby to the publisher, right?  No not yet! The hard work of writing is NOT over.

I am a firm believer in submitting your completed manuscript to the publisher. It is easier to devote time at the front end of the process than after your manuscript has been accepted. You determine when your manuscript has said all you want to say. You have control of your writing schedule initially. Once your manuscript has been accepted your publisher sets the schedule. At that point your patience most likely decreases as stress levels rise.   

Should corrections be made during the writing process? Here are some suggestions: 

To me, the most important factors in your writing projects are your initial thoughts. Put your words down on the page before they disappear from your brain. As I stated in a previous blog, when you write it, don’t worry about sentence structure, grammar, or punctuation. Just write the stuff down that comes out of your brain. Even if it looks like a grocery list. Edit it later. 

On my first project I insisted each sentence was grammatically correct as I wrote. I got lost in grammar and lost my train of thought. Ii happened so much I almost gave up on writing. 

I learned editing comes AFTER writing.

If your goal is to get your work published, editing is part of the process. Before you send it away, review your entire manuscript for errors making sure it says what you mean, and that grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. are cleaned up. You are more likely to get your manuscript looked at favorably by publishers if it makes sense, your ideas are clear, and your work is well organized. Turn in your “A” work.  It makes communication with the publisher easier and the process quicker because, I believe, you and your publisher’s editor will not have to spend so much time correcting errors. That only slows the process down.

What constitutes “A” work? Obviously, your absolute best work. Having the ability to edit your own work is a skill you can develop. Learn to read your work back to yourself as if you have never seen it before. How is your reader going to react to what he or she reads? Have you left words out, misspelled words, misplaced phrases, etc.? Does it make sense as written? It may need a little polish.      

Be aware that once your work arrives at the publisher it will go through at least three levels of editing: Substantive, Copyediting, and Proofreading. Understanding those levels will make your job of personal editing easier. 

According to Grammarly: “Although editing your own writing is different from what professional editors do, it is useful to understand the different levels of editing that exist in the world of publishing, as well as the order that these editing steps are performed in, so you can get a sense of the process you can and should apply to your own documents.” 

So, what is the difference between those levels.

Substantive Editing:

The focus is on the text. How is it organized. What is the tone? Who is the intended audience reader? Does it make sense? Does it have any obvious holes? Does it read well?


If it reads well, it is time to check for errors in grammar, syntax, usage, spelling, and punctuation. Is there consistency in punctuation, capitalization, hyphenation, abbreviation, and numbers? Are things properly cited and factual material accurate? Occasionally, these rules of writing change. Your editor knows the current rules.


This is a final check to see how the text will appear to the reader. Does the print layout, line breaks, margins, and so on make sense to the reader? It is also a final check for catching typos that may have been missed. Your publisher uses it as the last chance to look at the copy before it goes to formatting.  

What is involved in editing your own draft? You will be acting as the substantive editor, the copy editor, and the proofreader of your own work. Take a break between every stage of the writing and editing process. Return to it after a little time has passed to look at it anew. Make the bigger changes first. Here is a link that can help you. 

How to Edit Writing in 3 Steps, With Examples | Grammarly

The journey to publication is a long and hard road. The more you write, the better and easier it will be to edit your own work. You have done all you can do, and you feel as if your work is ready to be published. The next Publishing blog will explore that. 

Edmond P. DeRousse, Author



 You Don’t Have To Be Rich And Famous To Have Adventures