top of page

So you want to edit even more?

So you’ve edited your manuscript. Congratulations! That is awesome. Really. I mean really. This is a cause for celebration. Take a moment and celebrate. Get some cake or cookies or potato chips or popcorn or whatever your favorite celebration food is and celebrate! You have an edited manuscript! Woot woot!

So now what?

Good question. So now you have an edited manuscript! But do you have a properly formatted manuscript?

Ah. Formatting. We all love formatting. If you’re like me, you’ve probably never really bothered with formatting when you’re just focusing on writing your beautiful and stunning piece of work. Not a problem. Here are some formatting tricks.

You’ll need to set your margins and your tabs – and then the first thing you’ll notice is that your entire document gets narrowed and suddenly your two-hundred-page book turns into like…. five hundred. Don’t panic! People have read much longer books. Plus, once you reread and edit, you may end up cutting things out! Or adding things in.

Anyways. Margins. So – and this is all in Microsoft Word – if you go to Layout, you’ll see margins – click on margins! I keep my margins all one inch around. Then go to custom margins and go to paper – and where it says width and height, change the width to 6 inches and height to 9 inches. Wow. Did you do that? Did you see what happened? Your whole document just turned into the format of a 6 by 9 trade book! That is the normal dimensions of a standard novel book.

Now we can talk about indents. When you hit the tab button, it goes right to the default tab stop - .5”. That’s fine, but when it’s in a book, they look very large. So, click layout on Word and then go to paragraph – and click that little arrow to expand the box, and a new box pops up! Right in the bottom left corner is a box that says tabs. Click on it. You may have to clear out the rest of your tabs. Just click on the tab numbers and then click clear. Then, reset your tabs to .25” - just type that into the Tab stop position box. Also make sure that under Default tab stop, you reset it to .25". Keep the Alignment to the Left and the Leader 1 None. Click set, and then OK, and the next time you ident, your idents should come out much smaller.

And there we go! And I just tested it out and it worked!

Now, depending on how large your book is, you may need special margins. Do you remember when I said that Undaunted was undergoing uploading because there were complications? Well, that’s because Undaunted has so many pages (over 300 pages) that it needed special margins. Special margins. Ugh. This is when I did have to pay Gatekeeper Press for some editing help because I didn’t understand what they were saying at all, and at that point, I was frustrated and wanted this novel out already and I didn’t have the time or patience to try to figure that out. So they did do that for me.

But you can save yourself so much money – literally hundreds – when you edit your manuscript yourself.

But what if I’m not good at grammar and editing?

Good question. Well, to reassure you, if you’re a good writer, you are most likely already a good editor. While you probably don’t know all the intricacies of English grammar (I certainly don’t), you probably have a good ear for what sounds good and what doesn’t. Most likely, you know more about grammar than you think. But I understand. Having correct grammar is important, and it’s not something you want to mess up in your manuscript.

So I use Grammarly. I love Grammarly. Grammarly is a wonderful free grammar checker that helps me check mistakes that I didn’t or couldn’t catch. I use the free version, which gives you the most basic grammar check, but if you can use premium, then hey, you go for it! But if that’s not an option right now that’s okay! Use what you have.

I downloaded the Grammarly extension to Word so that I could open it right into my manuscript and go slowly through all the corrections. Don’t be discouraged if you see lots of mistakes that it won’t fix for you or you don’t know how to fix. Writing is a process. If you have the free version, Grammarly will tell point out all the premium mistakes you made. Don't worry about that. Just fix what you can.

And of course, some companies may specific requirements for you, depending on what self-publishing platform you're using. But I'm simply sharing what has worked and helped for me.

And if you’re discouraged in this writing journey, chin up, beloved. All is well. Take a deep breath. You aren’t alone. God is with you and is telling you right now don’t quit. This dream is for a purpose.

Remember, you are deeply loved.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash


bottom of page