First test reader and then the editing or vice versa?
Getting feedback is an important step in the writing process. If you are planning a book publication – whether in self-publishing or a publisher – you should have your text read in advance for the test. In various Facebook groups or on Twitter, I notice that authors often ask themselves in which order they should proceed: the manuscript first to the test readers or first to the editorial board?
Which concerns are behind it
Behind this question is the concern that your friends, colleagues, acquaintances or even your family members will receive a manuscript that is not yet “finished”. They do not want to impose on them any text in which bumpy phrases or spelling mistakes are found or whose story is not quite coherent. But that’s exactly what test reading is all about: they want to be made aware of any discrepancies! Your test readers should give you their impression! It’s about their immediate reaction – friendly, benevolent, but also critical. Only that will take you further!
Why first test reading and then proofreading?
So I advise you to have your manuscript read first for the test and then to copy it. The semi-professional correction loop should definitely be done before the professional final correction, because in a reverse order sure new mistakes will creep into your manuscript.
Tips for correction by the test readers
So that the feedback or the correction of the test readers brings you as much as possible, give them clear guidelines on what they should look especially for. It is impossible to simultaneously pay attention to spelling, grammar, style and even the plot! And that your friends or acquaintances read your text several times, you just can not go out. That would probably go well beyond the scope of a friendship service. Professional editors, in turn, do just that: they read your text at least twice, perhaps much more frequently, and so can and must respond to much more.
For example, here’s a list of points we’re watching for when we’re providing fiction feedback. Simply choose what you think is important from this list and communicate it to the testers as clearly as possible.
The further process
Once you’ve got the feedback from your test readers, put it into your text. And only then do you take care of the editing. This means that you also do not have to bring in the cost estimate for the proofreading until you have taken the feedback into account. In the best case, your manuscript has gained in quality, which can significantly reduce the cost and the cost of the final editing.
Your book should be read. So take every opportunity to get it ready before it’s released.