One of the greatest feelings in the world is when we realize that we’ve just finished writing a book. But when we go back to read it, sometimes we question whether it’s good enough to publish or not. That’s when the imposter syndrome starts to set in, and we feel like failures. 

Remember this: Every new and veteran author revises their work and hires editors, so it is never the end of your writing career if you feel like you wrote a low-quality book.

As a published nonfiction author, poet, and novelist, I still go through that “imposter” phase when I reach the end of a rough draft, but I’ve created a process that can help you get through this challenge.

Step One: Walk Away and Forget About It

Writing can be a really intense job that sucks away all our energy—and sometimes, for a few minutes, our will to live. You need to give yourself time to escape the world you created in your book to clear your mind about you’ve finished writing. So, I never recommend jumping right from “The End” into revising right away. Take a short vacation from writing and reward yourself with a treat, trip, or fun night out. You deserve it!

Step Two: The Alpha Reader Process

There are three different types of readers who will look over your book before it’s published: alpha readers, beta readers, and sensitivity readers. (We’ll talk about the two other types of readers in another blog post.) Different people have different definitions for what an alpha reader is, but it all boils down to one thing—the alpha reader is either your first reader or first group of readers who reads your book after you’ve written that first draft. I recommend finding at least two willing alpha readers to read your book to give you some objective feedback on what you’ve created.

Step Three: Revise Based on Reader Feedback

After you’ve received feedback from your alpha readers, you will sit down and decide what feedback resonated with you the most. First, focus on the positive feedback and let that flow through you to give you a renewed sense of purpose. Then, look for any commentary they gave you that pointed out weaknesses or areas that need improvement. It’s not essential that you address all of their concerns, but it’s important that you consider how their suggestions can improve your narrative. And it’s especially important to pay attention to any duplicate feedback you receive from multiple readers. It’s likely any potential readers who read your book after it’s published will notice the same things.

Step Four: Read, Revise, and Revise Some More

After you’ve revised based on the feedback you received from your alpha readers, it’s time for you to make your own assessment of your book. For this read-through, I highly recommend that you read your entire book out loud. This will force you to slow down and really take in the words you’ve written. It will isolate any passages that don’t make sense, and it will also make it easier to notice typos along the way. 

Don’t make any changes yet during this read-through. I write all my proposed revisions down in a notebook, or I record them in a new word-processing document. Then, I look at the list and make a few changes per day, starting first with the easiest change, moving toward the most challenging ones. Take as much time as you need to with this step to prevent burnout—because you’re going to be making more changes once you start working with your editor.

Step Five: Now, You Are Ready for an Edit

If you’ve never hired an editor before, this may be a challenging task for you, but we can make it much easier! Author Academy Elite has a talented group of editors we can match you with. Once you fill out the intake form, one of our managing editors at The Guild will contact you and perform an assessment on your manuscript to help you isolate what type of editor you’ll need. Then, your managing editor will send you some sample edits done on a small portion of your manuscript so you can decide which editor did the best job, and you can also get a taste of which editor’s style matches your own. 

All of our editors are vetted, experienced, and managed by our team of accomplished managing editors. We all work hard to ensure that the end result you dream of is the one you will eventually hold in your hands once your edit is complete. The sample-edit process is free, and you’re under no obligation to hire any of our editors if you feel they aren’t a good fit for your writing dream.

Have any questions about the writing or editing process? Need help publishing your book the right way? If so, complete this simple form and talk with one of our publishing consultants. Or leave a comment here!

We’d love to have a conversation about how we can help you finish writing your book or help you revise your manuscript on the way to achieving your dream of becoming a successful author.


    34 replies to "How to Prepare Your Manuscript for an Editor"

    • Travis M White

      This is golden. I love being a part of this tribe. As I am finishing my manuscript, this will provide valuable savings in energy and effort

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        We love having you with us. Keep on keeping on!

    • Barbara Albert

      This blog post was great! It made a lot of things clear that I found confusing!

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        Hooray! I like to hear that.

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        We are glad it helped you.

    • Monika Polefka-Proulx

      This is fantastic, I am super excited to read the articles and learn! Great articles.

      • Kary Oberbrunner


      • Kary Oberbrunner

        Thank you

    • Elizabeth Currie

      Thank you, I would never have thought to take those two steps, to get initial readers and then slow down and read it out aloud. I love AAE, you truly care, At each step you give direction and guidance, I am so hoping to make you proud.

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        I am honored to help…you already make me proud.

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        Thank you, Elizabeth.

    • Keisha Starnes

      Thank you!! Very much I see I still have way to go it my first time being a author and writing my first book my goal are to encourage people because of my disability your message and are helpful Thank you so much!!

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        You can do it. The world needs to hear your message.

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        I am glad to help.

    • Philip Johnson

      I wish I had this information before I sent off my manuscript to my editor. I had a wonderful editor from The Guild! In my book, I shared the story of Job from the Bible. My editor must have related to Job in a very personal way, because of the patience she had to have to work through my first draft.

      I totally missed steps 1-3 which made the editing process more difficult for both my editor and me. The insights here are why I am totally committed to being part of the Author Academy Elite tribe. I am proud to say, “Author Academy Elite is my publisher because of the people, the process and the product they produce.

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        Thanks Phillip. We are honored to have you with us.

    • Angela Dee Smith

      What great content! Can’t wait to read more articles. Angela Dee

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        Thanks Angela!

    • April T Giauque

      As an editor, I love and appreciate step 4. Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat! Great way to get right to the point and make it happen. Sharing with my fellow writers.

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        That is a great step! Thanks for sharing.

    • Sally McKee


    • Sally McKee

      I can learn so much here!

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        We are glad you’re here.

    • Tangelia Cotton

      This article presented some good tips in reference to taking a break from a written manuscript and having an alpha reader. I like the idea of a free sample edit,

      • Tina Marie

        Yes! We love the sample edit process. It allows you to get a feel for your editor’s style and personality, and it also gives you a chance to connect with them personally if their insight really resonates with you.

      • Kary Oberbrunner

        Thanks for your feedback.

    • Monika Polefka-Proulx

      I still have a way to go, but I found this article very enlightening. Thanks so much! One of the best decisions I have ever made is to be part of this amazing tribe.

    • Chellie Phillips

      Great ideas! Wish I’d had these for my first book, but you can bet I’ll put them to use for the second one!

      • Kary Oberbrunner


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