Self-Editing: How to Get Your Manuscript Out of the Drawer and Onto the Shelves

Self-Editing: How to Get Your Manuscript Out of the Drawer and Onto the Shelves

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All published authors can tell you that their first draft looks nothing like the finished book they sign at bookstores. How do they edit their material to take their work to a professional level? How do they edit themselves before they can get an agent or an editor to say yes? What are editors looking for today in terms of a polished manuscript? Is grammar all that important, or should the story speak for itself? How many revisions should a manuscript go through before it's considered “ready"? What are some principles on cutting down your word count and streamlining your story?

In this webinar, literary agent Michelle Brower answers these questions and more,shedding light on how she edits her clients' material, what authors do before they get a book contract, and providing commentary on how the self-editing process makes all the difference in today's publishing landscape.


  • How to developmentally edit for concept, structure, characters, and more
  • How to line edit for elegant, powerful sentences
  • Tips and tricks from authors who have successfully navigated the submission process
  • How to edit so that your book is most likely to appeal to today's agents and editors
  • How to find and incorporate feedback from the right readers


Michelle Brower began her career in publishing in 2004 while studying for her Master's degree in English Literature at New York University, and has been hooked ever since. During that time, she assisted the agents Wendy Sherman and Joelle Delbourgo, and found herself in love with the process of discovering new writers and helping existing writers further their careers. After graduating, she became an agent with Wendy Sherman Associates, and there began representing books in many different areas of fiction and nonfiction. In 2009, she joined Folio Literary Management ( She enjoys digging into a manuscript and working with authors to make their project as saleable as it can be, and her list includes the authors S.G. Browne, Rebecca Rasmussen, Jason Mott, and Michele Young-Stone, among many others.


  • Writers currently composing a novel
  • Writers in the brainstorming phase of a novel
  • Writers who have been rejected by agents and editors, and want to evaluate why their novel didn't make the cut
  • Writers who want a professional critique by a literary agent
  • Writers who have only self-published, but now are considering traditional publishing
  • Anyone with non-novel publishing credits considering making the jump to fiction writing

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