Whether you're writing a great detective story, a thrilling sci-fi set in outer space, or a gripping romance that will push all the right emotional buttons – editing is the key to making your story stand out from others in the Booktrack library.
Here are some ways you can edit your book so it's as polished as possible before publishing.
The right audience for your Booktrack is waiting, so don't turn them off with poorly-written text riddled with spelling mistakes and bad grammar. There are lots of advice from professionals on how many "drafts" of a story you should do, but it's generally agreed that between 3 – 4 drafts is a good rule of thumb.
Some authors might only do one draft, but they will have spent as much effort going back and re-writing during that first draft as writers who do 3 or 4. The first draft is the rough draft, where you just want to get the story down, the second draft is a "close line edit", where you go back and rework awkward sentences, correct any typos and grammar errors, fill any major plot holes and fix inconsistencies, and the third draft is all about polishing and refining.
There are two key components to making a great Booktrack that people want to read: a well-written story, and a matching soundtrack that enhances the reading experience. Before you publish your Booktrack, show the final draft to a group of "beta readers" and ask them if the story and soundtrack work well, both individually and together.
Beta readers can be friends, family, mentors or people from your writers' group or book club. Make sure that your beta readers can be trusted to give good constructive feedback. Good feedback lets you know why someone thinks a particular part of the story isn't working, and provides clues on how you can fix this.
Most good writing advice can be summed up in this William Faulkner quote: "In writing, you must kill all your darlings". This can apply to anything – characters you've grown fond of, brilliant prose, complex plotlines.
All authors must know when and what to cut out. A good place to start is by closely examining (based on your own instincts and feedback from beta readers) some key things: if something doesn't add to the story, character growth or explain a key theme, then start looking at cutting it out.
A lot of descriptive setting (unless you're writing epic fantasy), can be placed in this category. The same applies to scenes that don't go anywhere, or long back stories that doesn't really explain a character's motives or elicit emotion. These are all places where you can lose the reader, so tighten up your story and be prepared to kill your darlings, no matter how attached you are to them.