What does self-editing have to do with marketing? Well, since the quality of your product will affect its “saleability,” you need some quality control measures. Publishing houses just don’t have the resources to do extensive edits on the mountain of submissions they receive. They routinely reject manuscripts that are shot through with spelling, grammar, and usage errors. So—don’t handicap yourself by submitting your work without thorough proofreading and editing.
Self-editing is the only way to make sure you submit your very best work, short of hiring a proofreader. Here are a few of the methods I use to edit my articles.
Use the features of your word processor.
I use MS Word 2010, and I always use the spell checker, word count, and “reading ease” features. I checked one of my blog posts in Word, and it rated 7.0 on the Flesch Kincaid readability scale. That means reading level is 7th grade. Check here to find out how the readability scale is calculated. To enable the reading ease feature in Word, go to In File>Options>Proofing and check the Readability Statistics box under “when correcting grammar and spelling.”If you use a different word processor, check the help section or search online for help on how to use these features.
Perform a screen edit.
The spelling checker will not catch some errors. For example, I typed “pane” instead of “pain.” It won’t catch those things because technically “pane” is a correct spelling.” People’s names are rarely in the spell-check dictionary. As you read through your work on-screen, sometimes it occurs to you that you should re-order a sentence or shorten run-on sentences. Reading out loud can help you catch awkward constructions, too.
Print a hard copy.
Once you’ve corrected the errors you’ve found, it’s time to print it out. Let the document sit overnight, if possible. I was taught to “let it rest” in my high school English classes, and it’s one of the most useful things I learned there. Mark the errors you find on the hard copy. Read it aloud again, and mark revisions to transfer to the electronic file.
It’s worth your time.
If you think this might be more time-consuming that the original writing, you’re right. A familiar writers’ adage is “writing is rewriting.” Resist the temptation to send your first draft after you’ve run the spellchecker. A thorough self-edit might cost you some time but it will earn the editor’s attention when you submit.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.