Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Editing Books Like a Pro: 6 Last Minute Steps Before You Begin Manuscript Submissions by Karen Cioffi

I am tickled pink to host Karen Cioffi today as she shares with us Editing Books Like a Pro: 6 Last Minute Steps Before You Begin Manuscript Submissions. (Excerpt from Editing Like a Pro: Self-Editing for Books and Articles by Karen Cioffi).
So, you think you’re ready to submit your manuscript. Read this first.

You’re at the final stretch. You’ve done everything you could think of to get your manuscript ready for submissions. You’ve used all the self-editing tricks you learned, such as changing the font and reading it again, printing the manuscript out and reading it yet another time, and reading each paragraph backwards. Now, you’re at the finish line. But, before you cross the line, here are 6 last minute steps you should take into consideration

1. Do a Final Self-Edit

By this point, your manuscript should be so polished you need your sunglass to read it. But, give it another once over anyway. You never know.

2. Get your manuscript edited

When you think it’s perfect, have it edited before you start submitting it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, you think this step is overkill, and it will cost money. You’re right on the second part, it will cost money. But, if you can afford it, it will be money well spent.

No matter how many times you self-edit, there is the chance that you’ll miss something. Writers are just too close to their own work. While you’re reading, your brain is running on ahead, knowing and seeing what should be there, what you intended, whether or not it really is.

If you’ve thought it over and it’s not in your budget, then go over this e-book carefully and be sure to apply everything in it. It would also be a good idea, if you want to be super, duper certain, and if you can afford it, to invest in at least one comprehensive, full-length book on editing. While this e-book has a lot of tips and tricks, it’s always better to be safe, rather than sorry.

3. Create a log line
A log line or pitch line is a one sentence description or your manuscript. This may take a bit of trial and error, but, it’s important to master.
See the bonus article, “The Elevator Pitch for Your Manuscript,” below.

4. Create a synopsis

A synopsis is a short description of your story. Be sure your writing should be tight and focused—leave out the fluff. The content should be, at the very least, self-edited and proofread before sending it off to an agent or publisher. You are trying to grab the reader's attention and let the reader know that you are grammar literate.

Basically, the synopsis should briefly let the editor know what the book is about: the beginning of your story, your main character’s needs or wants, how he strives to reach his goals, the obstacles/conflicts in his way, and how he overcomes the conflicts and moves forward to the final outcome.
I read an interesting article recommending that your synopsis should be created using your detailed outline.
5. Create a query letter or proposal

A query is a sales pitch. It should be three paragraphs and only one page long. The first paragraph quickly and interestingly describes the story; it’s the hook. The second paragraph tells a bit about you, your qualifications for writing the book. And, it’s a good idea to include a bit on how you intend to help market the book. The third paragraph is the conclusion; keep it short.

6. Final Step: Submissions

Okay, your manuscript is polished and shiny, now it’s time to submit. But, hold on . . . check each publisher’s guidelines before you submit.

In fact, don’t just check the guidelines, you need to study them, and follow them implicitly. If a publisher asks for submission by mail only, don’t email your submission. If the word count on an article or story is up to 1000 words, don’t submit a story with 1150 words.


Karen Cioffi is a published author, freelance writer, and marketer, and to start the New Year with a BANG, from January 1 through February 28, 2012, she is offering all her writing and marketing e-books (purchased directly from her site/s using the Paypal SHOPPING CART) for a $1.19 each. And, this will include new titles added within that time period.
For a complete list of the available titles and links to more information:

For a complete list (with brief descriptions of each ebook) go to:


Karen, thank you for stopping by today and sharing with us your expertise in editing.

Wishing you all the best,

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.


  1. Hi, Donna. Great post.

  2. Hi Karen:

    I'm delighted to host you today. Terrific editing tips!


    Thanks for visiting!

    Best regards,

  3. Hiring an editor is so important and so many skip that step.

  4. Tightly packed advice, especially the editing and proofing step. Thanks for sharing Karen's comments. One trick I use, especially on the final version is to read the whole ms backward. The idea is to break through the tendency to expect everything to be correct and instead look word by word and line by line for errors.

  5. All great advice Karen. I wish I had waited then done a final edit before submitting. Instead I'm doing that now during edits.

  6. Donna, I'm sorry I'm a bit late - the day slipped away working on a PowerPoint webinar for later this month.

    Thank you for featuring my article - it's appreciated!

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

  7. Susanne, thanks for stopping by; glad you found the post interesting.

    Diane, Absolutely. If it's at all in one's budget, they should hire an editor. It makes such a difference.

    Bill, I actually have that editing tidbit in another article. Thanks for sharing it here.

  8. Rebecca, Better late than never. :)

    Nancy, Glad you found it useful!

  9. Great post! Good advice. Thanks!

  10. Great advice. Working on a log line is a great idea.

  11. Great information and advice, ladies. Thanks so much for the post!


  12. Jean, Mary Jo, and Karin, Thank you. I'm so glad you found the information helpful.

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