Two Tricks to Prepare a Book Manuscript for Self-Publishing

The Best Ways to Read and Improve Your Draft

Andrea Lawrence


Writing in a journal at a desk. A computer is open. | Judit Peter, Pexels

When it comes to preparing a manuscript, you first want to get it formatted and in good shape. This way your document looks consistent throughout, and you won’t be distracted by minor details.

I recommend before putting your finalized manuscript together that you save chapters, poems, or short stories in smaller files and work on them individually. This way when you’re ready to create your book manuscript, most of the editing, grammar, and plot considerations have already been done.

Working with a giant manuscript file can slow things down for your computer, and it can get tedious to scroll through a big file. It’s important to have an efficient organizational method that works for you.

For more of my tips on how to initially format your manuscript, read my article here:

Once you have a manuscript in, let’s say, cohesive shape, I would start working on it in sections. When you have the right mindset, there are two things I want you to do, and this should come after you’ve already polished your chapters, poems, and/or stories.

First, don’t try to read everything all at once when it comes to a lengthy document. This will cause you to speed-read and gloss over things. If you’re serious about self-publishing, and you can’t afford an editor, you need to slow down and think about things critically. You also need time to decompress, and reading all of your chapters or stories at once might not really give you time to consider the nuances.

1. Read Your Story Out Loud

It’s age-old wisdom when it comes to editing, but I first want you to read your first chapter out loud. I want you to focus on the following:

  1. Are there any unnatural-sounding parts? Did you change any words while reading out loud? If your speaking voice switched words around perhaps what you intuitively spoke would…



Andrea Lawrence

Poet, creative writer, loves a bit of satire, food and wine journalist, relationship writer, interior design maven, Midwestern background.