Prepping Your Manuscript
The industry standard is Microsoft Word. If you work in a different program, no worries! Just make sure whatever program you’re using will allow you to save in and open Microsoft Word files. However, when you get ready to send your file to your editor, complying with their preferences is important to receiving quality work. If you’re working with us, we recommend a double-spaced manuscript, always in .doc or .docx format, with a standard 12-point font, such as Arial, Sans Serif, or Times New Roman. We understand that you may want a special typeface or that you likely want single spacing in your final book, but those cosmetic touches are best left until after editing and proofreading are finished so that your editing team isn’t stuck squinting at the page and potentially missing things they otherwise would have caught.
Are you a new author? Are you unsure what to expect from your first editing or proofreading experience? Or are you just curious how we do things here at Joy Editing? Well, look no further! We’re happy to share some tips and tricks for what to expect when you’re working with us on a project.
Working in Track Changes
If you’ve never worked in Track Changes before, it can be a pretty daunting, but it’s deceptively simple. Track Changes allows you to see all of the suggestions your editor or proofreader has without losing your work. When you have your manuscript open, with Track Changes turned on, make sure you have “All Markup” selected so you can compare and contrast what you originally wrote and what your editing team suggests changing. If you want to get an idea of the flow of a passage with your editor’s changes without looking at all those red marks, select “No Markup” from the drop-down menu. Both views are indispensable in going through your editor’s markings and deciding whether to accept or reject changes. YouTube has quite a few videos on how to navigate Track Changes, but if you have specific questions, please let us know.
Red Marks Galore
For first time authors, seeing all those red marks in Track Changes can be disheartening. Your book is your baby! We understand, but those red marks are there to help make your baby the best it can be. Every author goes through the process, and every author has to trust that their editor is doing their best to make the author’s voice shine through. A thick skin is a necessity when you’re first working through your editor’s revisions. It’s never personal. However, if you sincerely feel an editor is “editing out” your voice, it may be worth looking for a different editor who gets you better. Luckily, here at Joy Editing, we do offer free thousand-word editing samples to help head that problem off at the pass. Ultimately, an editor’s marks are suggestions, not the law, but keep in mind that those suggestions are exactly what you’re paying for.
Whether it’s your first book or your hundredth, we know you’re eager to get it into the hands of your readers, and setting a release date may feel like the best way to keep you on track. However, we recommend having all of your editing, proofing, and formatting bookings in place before you commit to a release date. While we normally give authors a suggested one-month timeline for our full line editing and proofreading service, we are human, and our schedules may not always fall in line with that. In general, edits for books between 40k and 100k words are two-week edits, but you will then need time to go through those edits, accept or reject them, and then submit a clean copy of that manuscript back to us before it ends up in the hands of a proofreader. Proofreads are scheduled at one day per 10k words of text, but manuscripts are sent out for proofreading on a first-come, first-served basis and may not go out same day, so building in some buffer time for yourself and your proofreading team is highly recommended. If you’ve got a special date in mind for that release, that’s fine—just make sure to give yourself and your editing team plenty of time before that.
Many of our authors are self-published, and we don’t have a publishing department at our company. We’re here to do our absolute best to make your manuscript all shiny and pretty and ready to read, but we don’t have resources on the publishing process. As such, we recommend that you do your research beforehand on the best route for you, whether that’s a traditional publishing house or self-publishing. Getting involved in communities of writers can be the best way to gather this sort of information, whether that’s a local group, a Facebook group, or what have you. Be active, make friends, and ask questions. We’re sure you’ll find answers.