You’ve written your heart out, poured sweat and tears into every word, and now you’re ready to show your masterpiece to the world! What’s your next step?
My name is Lora, and I’m a certified substantive editor and copyeditor. I am also the Assistant Director of the Christian Editors Association. I’ve edited many books for professional authors. I’ve also coached beginning and intermediate writers to bring their writing up to today’s professional standards. I can spot exactly where a writer is and personally coach them on what their next step is.
Have you written and published at least three books (not articles or blogs) in the same genre in the past six years? Or have you been part of a professional writers’ organization, like the ACFW? If so, you can jump right to my SERVICES page. Or keep reading—this is for you too. 😊
Do you know what’s exponentially more challenging than writing a book? Capturing readers. There are literally millions of books for people to read. How can your book possibly stand out in that vast ocean? By strategically shaping your words to hook readers using the most effective current writing techniques. Do you know these important writing techniques? You can take a free quiz to see. I’ll give you a link in a moment.
If you want to succeed, you must think of writing as a profession. It doesn’t have to be your main profession, but you have to be serious about it.
For example, you wouldn’t enter a professional singing competition if you only sang with the radio—even if everyone says you have an amazing voice. ♫ That’s not enough. You must have experience performing in front of an audience, singing and syncing with a live band and background singers, and knowing exactly what professional judges are critiquing in your presentation. You need to be proficient and confident in all of those areas before going live and being judged.
In the same way, writing thousands of words in a book does not make you a professional writer. You need to learn and master advanced skills that can only be taught. No one knows them automatically.
What are these skills? I can teach you. Everything in life is constantly changing. That goes for writing too. (Did you notice? Commas are not needed before “too” anymore.) Writing styles and rules evolve continuously. So I have to study daily to keep up with all of the changes. (We don’t use a comma after “so” anymore either. Or before “either”!) My career requires me to stay current with industry standards, so I am a certified and qualified coach.
First let’s review the individual steps between having a brilliant idea and having your writing professionally edited—the last step before publishing.
Step 1. You write an entire book. That’s a major accomplishment! So many people say they want to write a book, but they never start. Or they start, but they never finish. Completing a book is something to be proud of! 😊
Step 2. You want to publish your writing so that many people (other than your friends and family) will read it. You believe your personal message will enrich readers’ lives in a unique way. That’s an admirable goal!
Step 3. Discover if people like your book—and will buy it. Remember that no one else in the world thinks like you. You know exactly what you mean when you write, but every reader will interpret (or misinterpret) your words based on their own personal experiences.
So the next step is to get feedback to see if your communication style is effective. If you know someone knowledgeable about today’s styles of writing, ask them to critique your work. A writers’ group is an extremely valuable resource. You will receive a variety of helpful and insightful suggestions. Try to get at least three informed critiques of your entire book. Apply this feedback to your writing, and see how tremendously it will improve! 😊
Step 4. The next step is to study professional writing skills. Is your writing just for your fans (family and friends)? If so, you’re done. However, if you want the public to read and appreciate your book, you have to compete against thousands of other writers in your genre. To stand out, you’ll need to know the most current trends and up-to-date writing rules.
You should study professional writing books in your genre. Try to attend online or in-person writing seminars. And especially take advanced-level writing courses (I offer these). You can take a quiz to test your writing skills. Then you will have an idea of where you are at. Take the QUIZ.
Step 5. If you are confident that you understand and have incorporated professional writing techniques into your book, you are now ready for editing. You can either have an overall critique done first, or you can pay to have it edited in detail. This is the final step before publishing your book. Go to SERVICES.
I hope this helps you reach the final stage of your journey—your polished, effective writing in the hands of many delighted readers. 😊