Writing for yourself or a client doesn’t really change much about the process of getting your writing ready to be submitted. It doesn’t matter if it’s for yourself or clients, it’s imperative that you ensure it’s ready for submission. This advice can work for any type of writing you’re doing.
Find Some Beta Readers – One way to help with your writing, especially if you’re writing books is to find beta readers. These are people who love reading work in your genre who have agreed that in exchange for getting free books to read they’ll give you honest and quick feedback about what they read. Once you get the feedback, you can use that to perfect your work before it goes to the publisher.
Ensure You Have A Beginning, a Middle & an End – If you’re writing a story, there must be a whole story. Even if you’re writing articles like this one, they must have an introduction, body text, and a conclusion. If you leave these things out, it feels weird to the reader. Don’t leave your writing unfinished.
Don’t Fall in Love with Your Own Excellence – It can be easy to believe after all your hard work, the research you’ve done, and the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve shed to get your writing finished is just perfection. It’s important that you don’t let yourself believe this because if you want your work also to be sellable that you take the advice of your publisher, your editor, or your client too. It’s not personal.
Always Edit for Everything – Even if you know an editor is going to look at the work once you’re finished with the first part of writing everything you should still either edit yourself or have someone else edit it before submitting. You want to turn in your best work. It will make the entire editing and perfecting process much shorter if you do this.
During Editing Focus on Removing Words Over Adding Words – Once you’re in the editing process focus on taking words away rather than adding more if possible. Take words from your manuscript that is extra that you don’t need. If it doesn’t advance your meaning, you don’t need it. This will make your writing more concise. For example, do you really need the word “really” here?
If You’re Publishing a Story, the Story Is First – When you tell a story, the flow of the story is more important than being witty or clever in your phrasing. If someone doesn’t understand what you mean to say no amount of cleverness will help.
If You’re Writing Web Content, Ensure Formatting is Right – When you write content that will be read on the web or in an email, it’s imperative that you realize that when you are writing it. The formatting is different because reading walls of text online is very difficult. You want plenty of bullets, headings, subheadings and chunky content that’s easy to read.
Check the Guidelines – Depending on who you’re writing for there should be guidelines to check. Remember when you were in school, and your teacher gave you a rubric to follow to ensure everything you turned in had the components needed to be complete? It’s the same thing here. Even if you’re writing for yourself create a rubric for your writing to check off what is done.
Get Your Marketing Collateral Created – This really does depend on your situation, but if you’re expected or need to create all of that yourself then you’ll want to do it now. That way you can get feedback on that too. You may need graphics, book covers, copy and more to market your finished product.
Depending on your situation, if you’re writing a book and submitting to a publisher, you’re probably going to have to make even more edits and changes. However, having done the work to make it as perfect as you can before submitting it will reduce the amount of work and ensure your professionalism remains intact. If you’re writing for other purposes, your attention to the details will pay off in that clients will appreciate the extra effort.