Editing is almost finished on my first manuscript! Whew! I look back and it probably took me just as long to edit it as it did to write it. In all fairness, though, I did take some time away from it to have a fresh look at it. (This works, by the way!)
I know every writer has his/her own method for editing and there may be some fast rules on it — that’s all great & nothing wrong with it. Other than the usual editing grammar, etc., this is how I went about it:
*I started an informal critique group of family & friends — since several of them do not live locally, it was mostly individually and via email/phone calls. I found that some of my best critiques came from educators (media specialist, learning interventionist). They have a grasp of what kids read and were very good about telling me when I was off mark. Every critique was helpful and appreciated. It was also great to have readers with a wide range of backgrounds, since it’s a multicultural book.
*I printed out several manuscripts in “booklet” form with a feedback sheet and a wonderful 5th grade teacher passed them to some of her students. It was anonymous so I could get honest feedback. This was the best! I loved reading their (mostly) great comments and each one encouraged me to publish it because “this book was awesome!” I highly recommend this if you have a willing teacher. In fact, I may do this again once my final editing is completed.
*I paid an excellent professional editor and it was worth every cent. She was thorough and great about providing explanations for certain suggestions.
In the beginning of my editing process, I attempted to join/form a writer’s critique group, but not enough people showed up. Later, when I was invited to an existing local group, I had schedule conflicts. Honestly, I didn’t pursue this avenue too much, but I’ve heard of wonderful writer’s critique groups and may still join one for the fun of it. I love learning from other writers – a great bunch!
Now that I’m this close to being agent-ready, I’m super excited about the possibilities!