A huge part of successful non-fiction writing is clarity of thought and the ability to get the information to the reader. Sure, good writing is important, but, unlike fiction, the facts and subject are key, and the efficiency with which that’s conveyed to a reader, are a top priority.
Since the whole point of editing is clarity, it is one of the biggest tools in taking a non-fiction book from the writer’s computer to the publishing phase.
The best thoughts, the most thoroughly researched non-fiction book, will never make it to the publishing process if it’s full of typos, misspellings, grammatical errors, or poorly structured. First impressions are vital when pitching a book to a publisher. Yes, there are editors on the publishing end, too. But your non-fiction book will never make it to those editors if the initial look doesn’t pass muster.
There is a lot a writer can do to take that first step. When it comes to the first round of non-fiction book editing, computer tools like spell check and grammar check are particularly helpful. And there are plenty of online references.
Owl.english.purdue.edu is a particularly helpful one for grammar and style issues. So is MLA and APAstyle for formatting research papers, including references and citations. And nothing can beat the classic The Elements of Style for rules for good and clear writing. While Elements doesn’t have a website, references to it can be found in many places online. Or go old school and buy a hard copy and keep it by your computer, as many professional editors do. You will find yourself referring to it often.
But even if you’ve diligently scoured your non-fiction book for errors, a second set of eyes is always essential. Particularly if you relied heavily on spell check, which is a tool, but not an automatic writing button that takes the place of common sense and editing knowledge. Someone needs to make sure that the word wanted in the text is were, not where. Or elicit, not illicit.
Even if you’re confident your self-editing was successful and your non-fiction book manuscript is nice and clean, it’s important to have an editor look it over for that final review. Professional editing, such as that offered as FirstEditing.com, is a guarantee that skilled and experience editors will go over your book and make it as clean as it can be. And this doesn’t only go for the writing, but references, citations, the index, and any other elements that must be done right.
With a professional non-fiction book editor, like those at FirstEditing.com, you get the best bang for your buck. For pennies per work, you will be guaranteed that your non-fiction book will be ready to pass muster when you’re ready for publishing.