Monday, 25 May 2015

4 Top Notch Books on Editing for Writers

I have been editing book two in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries for the past few days. Writing the book is the easy part. Editing, as all writers know, or will find out, is the hard part. In preparation for editing I have been reading some excellent books on the subject. So today I bring you four, which I think every writer should have in their arsenal.

The Little Book of Self Editing for Writers by Bridget McKenna

This is a cracking little book. It is only 96 pages long, but every page packs a punch. It is in three parts.

1. Search and Destroy
2. The self editor's toolkit
3. Self editing resources

I read it through quickly and then used it to transform my manuscript. McKenna uses Zombies to illustrate some of her points. No, I am not joking. Yes, it does work. It is the most brilliant tip I have come across. You will, of course, have to read the book to find out more.

Part three has a self editing checklist. I used it to go through my manuscript and again transform it into something readers will love. Using this checklist will help any author eliminate areas which will slow the manuscript down and take the reader out of the story.  I loved this book and is one I would highly recommend.

Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

This is one I have reviewed before, but I make no apologies for including it in this list. This book is an excellent addition to the library of any writer. It covers every aspect of editing and takes the author through them in simple steps. It is clearly written  and uses examples to support  explanation. This method works and it is easy to see at a glance how your writing can be improved. This book also contains checklists to use when editing. It also has a number of writing exercises to help the author develop their craft. This is one I cannot recommend highly enough.

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Kawasaki and Welsh

This book isn't specifically about editing, but about the process of writing, self publishing and marketing your book. However, it does contain an excellent chapter on editing. This is chock full of links to resources which will help you to edit your book. Overall, the book is excellent, but for the purposes of this blog, the section on editing is outstanding.

Polish Your Fiction by Jessica Bell

This is not a large book but every piece of advice within it is solid and helpful. As Bell says in her introduction it is not about writing a book, but about polishing it with a good edit. It covers all the key areas such as:

1. First Line Hook
2. Character consistency and point of view
3. Dialogue tags
4. Tightening Descriptions
5. Removing superfluous words
6. Identifying and replacing overused words
7. First person and Third person pronouns.

There are more chapters but this gives you a general feel for the way in which this book helps you to do an in depth edit. It is one which all writers should read and have by their side during the editing process, and one which I highly recommend.

Now for a bonus book.

Self Publish Your Book by Jessica Bell

This is not specifically about editing but does contain some excellent advice on how to format your book if you are self publishing. It takes you through all the steps you need to get your book finished and ready to publish. The steps are easy to follow and will save you a lot of time

So there we have it my Bookaholic friends. Another one for writers. However, I am reading a cracking crime book at the moment so will be back with another review soon. Until then, keep reading and writing.


  1. Thank you so much for including two of my books here! I'm honoured.

    1. You are welcome Jessica. Very well deserved as your books are excellent. I think all writers should read them

  2. Replies
    1. You are welcome Lakshmi. Glad you liked the article