1-Read your book out loud. This will help you to catch repetitions, weird punctuation and awkward sentences.
2-Have a program read your book to you. I only do this for certain sentences. I tend to read the way I know a sentence should be read, which is not helpful. On scrivener you can select any section of your book, right click, select speech and start speaking. It will read that portion out to you and if it sounds mighty weird you have to work on your punctuation.
3-Look at autocorrect, but don’t trust it over your knowledge! Check any underlined words. If you are unsure double check. You can google grammar rules and spelling. Don’t accept corrections blindly and do not ignore suggestions.
4-Cut down adverbs and the use of very. See this very nice post about using the most appropriate word.
5-For my first book I used a simple program called My Word Count. I paid around $14 to download it. It looks primitive, but it scans your manuscript and finds words you repeated several times so that you can change them. It also analyzes sentence patterns. For a manuscript to read well, in most cases, you need short sentences intercalated with long ones and you might want to avoid sentences that are too long. This program will find them for you. After my first book I got a sense for my narrative rhythm and words to avoid and did not use the program anymore.
6-Reread your book till you’re satisfied with it and find only minor typos. Now you’re ready for step 7.
7-Go to a writers’ group. Start reading parts of your manuscript and get peer review and response. Listen to all criticism and take nothing personally. If more than one person feels strongly about something, you might want to listen! I LOVE my writers’ group. I tried three before finding the one that was a good fit for me. I will write a separate post on writers’ groups later.
8-Find out if you need professional editing. Most editing companies online will edit a sample for free. Does it come back butchered? If yes, you might want to consider professional help editing your manuscript.
9-If you think you are done editing and your book is ready, move on to the next project. Don’t make that face. You’re a writer, that’s what you do. Let your book sit for one or two months then read it again. Yes, you wrote that c*rp. Start again from point one. If instead you find your book enthralling, funny, moving, original, if you can’t wait to shout every word out loud to the entire world…maybe your book is done!
10-Send the book out to a couple of beta-readers (friends are okay, but if you can find people who don’t know you is better, e.g. on tumblr). If their feedback is terrific go for couple more. If their feedback is horrific don’t blame it on them. Sit down and start editing and crafting again.
If beta readers are elated you can now start to think about publishing ^_^
Oh, man! I’m so proud of you!