How to make your book read like a professional author’s

Oct 26 12:27 2012 Ruth Lunn Print This Article

Trying to make your book look like a professional author's will give you a great kick-start on the path to publishing success.

The most important tip for making your book read like a professional’s – or a previously published author – is to make sure it is proofread and edited. All long-standing authors rely on their editors to polish up their manuscript,Guest Posting check and correct any mistakes, and suggest improvements – they are not arrogant enough to believe they can do it themselves and so believe that investing in book proofreading is well worthwhile.

But ahead of the checking stage, you can also follow these tips to improve your manuscript. Firstly, read over your opening (better still, get someone else to read over your opening). Does it grab the reader? Is it original? Is it appropriate for how the rest of the novel pans out? Does it mention the weather? (Writing about the weather in an opening is a classic teenager approach, especially stormy weather!) Don’t be lulled into thinking you need to serve the reader with lots of background information at this stage – you don’t, this can follow later – what you need to do is get them hooked.

Secondly consider the pace and rhythm of your book. Varying the pace is fine, but you need to make sure that the novel doesn’t flag too much or you may lose the reader. If you have multiple viewpoints, you need to ensure that there is enough each time to engage the reader with that character’s viewpoint – too much jumping about will just cause them to lose interest. It is better to move the plot or character development on before changing back to a different viewpoint.

Learn how to spot when your chapters should end. It’s good to leave the reader wanting more, and end your chapter with the closing of an action – for example she dumps her boyfriend, and walks out of the room. End the chapter there – don’t have him trying to analyse what’s happened, call his friends for moral support: he can do this in the next chapter.

Check your manuscript thoroughly for tautology. Adding in extra, unnecessary words displays all the signs of an amateur writer. Professional writers only use words they need and some of the best prose is very sparse. Throwing in words to try to make you look intelligent doesn’t work – honestly.

Cliche alert – have you resorted to them? If so, be ruthless and rewrite. There’s no point repeating what other writers have written – make sure your voice is original. What have you got to say?

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Ruth Lunn
Ruth Lunn

Ruth Lunn is Lead Editor at Consilience Media, a creative digital publishing company which specialises in book publishing.

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