Module 4: Editing

Editing and Finalizing Your Manuscript, Part Five: Completing Your Manuscript

Andrea Levitt from Reader's Digest introduces the final part of this video series on the process of finalizing your manuscript. George Nedeff from Author Solutions presents five common roadblocks that prevent writers from finishing their books, and he explains the five methods to combat those challenges and ensure that you succeed in becoming a published author.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Andrea from Reader's Digest Select Editions. Welcome back. Today, we're going to watch the fifth and final part of the webinar, "Editing and Finalizing Your Manuscript." In part one, we talked about the value of editing and discussed different types and what each entailed. In part two, we learned about the 13 common mistakes that writers often miss but readers always catch. Part three covered how to select the right editor, how to ensure you remain consistent throughout your manuscript and the importance of indexing for a nonfiction book. In part four, we learned the do's and don'ts to consider when making a title selection. Today in part five, we'll look at common roadblocks that writers often face, because while lots of people have an idea for a book, and quite a few people start one, very few actually finish. We want you to be one of those who do. So let's get started reviewing some methods to overcome these challenges.

Hi, this is George Nedeff. I'm the learning instructor at Author Solutions, as well as a former editor from the traditional industry. Having an idea for a book and starting it is easy enough, but writing and finishing a book is difficult and very few people actually reach the goal.

There is usually some moment of inspiration or impetus that causes an author to want to write. While doing the hard work of completing the manuscript, it is very easy to forget the reason for starting. Motivation is tied to remembering why. So take a piece of paper and write down why you wanted to write your book in the first place. Put the piece of paper where you can see it every time you sit down to write. In fact, make another copy and put it by your bed or coffee maker so you can see it even when you're not writing.

Most successful authors will agree that in order to finish a manuscript on time, you might write regularly whether it is every day or every weekend. You probably have a time that is better than others to write. Determine the best time to write and block that time on your calendar, then stick with it. Even if you don't feel creative, just start writing something and the words may start to flow. Most authors can write more in one good hour than in three hours when not in the right place or time. It is important to know when you are most productive and make time to write. If you don't purposefully reserve your most productive time for writing, other things will rush in and fill up that time. That's just the way life works.

Another roadblock is losing sight of the day you want to hold the first copy of your book. Putting a date on the calendar and working toward that day is absolutely critical. For some authors, it's a hard deadline, such as having a book for a speaking engagement, but for others, it's a day they have deemed important. Maybe you have a special birthday or anniversary coming up. Perhaps you could set yourself a deadline of one year. What is important is that you choose a day. Picture that wonderful day when you will hold a copy of your book, then create a timeline to get there, setting the key milestones to make your goal. Without a deadline, it's easy to have a project drift untouched for months, even years.

Doubting yourself. It happens when you least expect it – doubt creeps in and paralyzes your keyboard. This is a common roadblock that can affect both novice and experienced authors alike. Authors often wonder if their writings are good enough or if anyone will even want to read them. It's understandable. You've poured yourself into your work. It can be terrifying to hand it over to other people, let them read it and see what they think. Whether the reader is someone close to you, or a complete stranger, there's always a lingering fear of rejection. Fortunately, there are many techniques to overcome self-doubt. It's all in your mind after all, and it's natural to worry about what other people will think, but you shouldn't beat yourself up or use negative language when thinking about your work. I mean, it's self-destructive, and there's no place for it in your path to success.

Instead, ask yourself these questions: Am I putting my best effort forward? Do I have good intentions? Am I being genuine in my work? Think about past successes you've had. Think about all of the training, research and effort you've put into your project. Recite inspiring, encouraging quotes to yourself to change your negative feelings to positive ones. By purposefully changing your way of thinking, you can take action to silence your self-doubt. You may also try online resources that can help you get feedback, gain knowledge and make connections. And conferences are also very helpful to make connections with other writers. Each of these resources provide a way to improve your work and help you gain confidence in what you are going to publish. Doubt can manifest itself in a lot of different ways. In some cases, you may doubt that your work's any good. You could doubt that anyone will ever want to read it. You could even doubt that you'll never sell any books at all. Often, you are your own worst critic. By the end of the day, the only way to get past self-doubt and fear of rejection is to take the plunge. You never know what can happen until you get your book into the marketplace.

The last of the five roadblocks is knowing what to do next after you finish writing. This is very common among authors who are so focused on getting their manuscript done that they don't know exactly how they are going to get published. Review your options and have a goal in mind. As you learned earlier in this webinar series, setting goals early in the process is helpful, but it's never too late to educate yourself. Set a goal and create a publishing plan for your book. By avoiding these five roadblocks to finishing your manuscript, you are well on your way to publishing your book.

This concludes part five of "Editing and Finalizing Your Manuscript." I hope you have found these webinars on writing useful, and I applaud you on undertaking the rewarding task of writing your book. For more information on publishing, go to and get a free publishing guide and a free consultation.