10 Indispensable Self-Editing Books.

self editing

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned professional, these ten reference books are a must for your library. My thanks to the  following  Association of Personal Historians colleagues who suggested many of these books: Pat McNees, Mim Eisenberg, Stephen Evans, and Philip Sherwood .

  • Write It Right: The Ground Rules for Self-Editing Like the Pros. “In a succinct five-step process, this reference shows how to save time and frustration when editing one’s own work, creating stronger, more precise text that holds the reader’s attention. Through its practical, field-tested approach featuring frequently asked questions and key points for reflection at each step, writers learn how to avoid embarrassing themselves on paper, remain objective throughout the process, pinpoint their own unique writing challenges, and recognize when it is time to call for outside help. Tips and examples in the grammar and usage section further illustrate how to overcome the most common writing challenges that plague writers.”
  • The Savvy Self-Editing Book. “… a guide for writers to develop their own editing process to suit their needs and vision. It breaks down the editing process into three stages: Content, Sentence, and Copy Editing. Its concise format gives writers concrete examples, charts, and quick and easy editing techniques that make a difference!”
  • The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications. “…lively, practical manual for newcomers to publishing and for experienced editors who want to fine-tune their skills or broaden their understanding of the craft. Addressed to copyeditors in book publishing and corporate communications, this thoughtful handbook explains what copyeditors do, what they look for when they edit a manuscript, and how they develop the editorial judgment needed to make sound decisions.”
  • Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing. “…over 700 examples of original and edited sentences, this book provides information about editing techniques, grammar, and usage for every writer from the student to the published author.”
  • The Fine Art of Copyediting. “This well-crafted book focuses on the details of copyediting and as a bonus gives advice on human relationships in the editorial process. Well-written, insightful, concise, and punchy, this compact book provides a novice with the basics of copyediting and is a useful and fun review for old hands. I recommend The Fine Art of Copyediting highly.” ~ Reader Review
  • On Writing Well. “… belongs on any shelf of serious reference works for writers.” ~ New York Times
  • Edit Yourself. “As a professional editor, I rely on many tools. I consistently return to Ross-Larson’s book because it is thorough while being easy to use. I can find what I want fast. I particularly like his list of word substitutes: after reading “in addition to” and “in view of the fact that” a hundred times, I forget the simple substitutes. Ross-Larson’s book consistently brings me out of the engineering woods.” ~ Reader Review
  • The Artful Edit. “Susan Bell, a veteran book editor, also offers strategic tips and exercises for self-editing and a series of remarkable interviews, taking us into the studios of successful authors such as Michael Ondaatje and Ann Patchett to learn from their various approaches to revision. Much more than a manual, The Artful Edit inspires readers to think about both the discipline and the creativity of editing and how it can enhance their work.”
  • Grammatically Correct. “For those who value correct grammar, Anne Stilman has written the definitive guide. She holds you to her high grammatical standards, and clearly explains how to follow the rules. There are chapters on “Spelling,” “Punctuation,” “Grammar,” and “Style,” and Stilman patiently elucidates the rules of colons, brackets, and plural formations, while gracefully tackling the common misuses of “lie” versus “lay.”

Photo by Felipe Morin

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