Self-Editing Tools for Independent Authors

Self-editing will never completely replace the value of a professional human editor for your books. But these self-editing tools can help you clean up your blog.


self-editing (Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay.)

l recently came across an article written by Amanda Shofner, and further edited by the TWL Team, on The Write Life website. I take the advice regarding these editing tools seriously because of who is giving this advice:

During self-edits on my latest manuscript, I experimented with six editing tools, both free and paid, to determine which could be most beneficial to The Write Life’s audience. Besides being an author, I’m an editor, so I also weighed each tool against what I’d look for when editing.

…An automatic editing tool doesn’t replace a human editor. Because language rules and elements of a good story can be so flexible, human eyes will always be superior to the rigidity of automatic tools. (The Write Life, February 2019)

According to Amanda and the TWL team, each self-editing tool has its strengths and its weaknesses. None can be used for everything.

Self-Editing Tools for Spelling and Grammar

Not surprisingly, Grammarly is first on the list of self-editing tools. We’ve all been inundated with Grammarly advertising lately, so it’s a popular brand. You can download and start using a free version of this tool to help with self-editing your blog entries. Unfortunately, you can expect to be continually bombarded with even more ads if you do so. They won’t stop until you upgrade to a paid version. At the end of the day, The Write Life team recommends Grammarly for basic grammar and spell checking. I personally think you can get this same value from Microsoft Word … and without all the advertising interruptions.

The next recommended tool is called ProWritingAid. This also has a free version available (for a limited time) so you can try it out before buying it. It takes things a step further by helping you catch over-used words and repeated phrases.

After the Deadline is next in line. This grammar tool is completely free of charge, so it’s perfect for bloggers on a budget. That said, the team at TWL cautions “you get what you pay for” here. They recommend Grammarly above it.

Self-Editing Tools for Analyzing Readability

The Write Life team recommends AutoCrit as a great tool for fiction writers. They also speak highly about this paid tool’s ability to analyze and correct one’s common writing issues. More sophisticated than any of the earlier-mentioned tools, it can help in the developmental editing stage of a manuscript.

Next up is the Hemingway App. This free online app needs to be used in conjunction with other grammar and spell checking apps. Why? Because it doesn’t check those things. It appears to be similar to the Yoast: SEO for Everyone plug-in I recommended earlier in that it analyzes your writing to improve its readability.

Last, but not least, there’s WordRake. This one is a fairly pricey add-in for Microsoft Word or Outlook, and with good reason. You get what you pay for in life. And here’s what these editors have to say about this tool: “WordRake is a great tool for the copyediting stage. Verbose writers, authors wanting to cut down on editing costs or editors looking to speed up their editing process will most benefit from WordRake.” It sure sounds worth the investment!

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