Self Publishing 3

05 Sep

This summer I had the opportunity to read several books. Some of the e-books I chose to read were free on Kindle, by long published authors and new authors taking advantage of the self publishing boom.

I have an eye for spotting errors in what I read, probably because I have practiced editing and proofreading my manuscripts for many years. I’ve gotten so that I can spot an error in anyone’s book, at least one error, ninety-five percent of the time. I am okay with, or can tolerate, up to four errors per book, but after that I am annoyed and most psychology books will say that being annoyed leads to anger.

Yes, I became angry with a new author, who could write, but had errors in her book. It wasn’t misspelled words that got my attention, but words that didn’t belong in the sentence, like someone used auto correct. Another common error in this book was leaving out a word in a sentence. Writers can leave out a word and miss it in the editing process because our minds know what we meant to say and so we think it’s there. It happens to the best of us, that’s why we need another set of eyes on our manuscript. Actually, more than one pair.

Today the trend is to hire a professional editor to go over a book before self publishing. An editor is someone who prepares the final version of the manuscript, helping the writer determine the length and the order of events and scenes, character development, etc. Yet, I believe the author mentioned above needed a professional proofreader more than an editor. A proofreader goes line by line and marks corrections in grammar, spelling, omitted words, etc.

Presently, some of the best marketing opportunities are asking for books with four and five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. They want proven books, reviewed by average folks, not your author buddies. So, basically, the writer needs a proofreader and an editor, whether you hire someone or not. Don’t trust your eye as the only proofreader you need because it is quite likely you will miss something. The goal is to present your best work to the world, so don’t be in a hurry and get the help you need.


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14 responses to “Self Publishing 3

  1. Janis McCurry

    September 5, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    Good advice, Mary. I’ve never understood those self-published authors who do not use standard business practices, i.e., hiring a professional editor or proofreader. It’s a business and you want to put out the best product possible. I would never consider self-publishing without getting professionals to do what they’ve trained for.

    • maryvine

      September 5, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      Thanks, Janis. I know you have some good critique partners to help you as well.

  2. Judith Keim

    September 5, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    I agree with you, Mary. If I start to read a book with a lot of errors in it, chances are I won’t finish it. With so many bad e-books out there, the good ones are sometimes lost. Once the frenzy calms down, I suspect we’ll see more good e-books books joining the ranks of best sellers.

    • maryvine

      September 5, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      Judith-I’m just glad you can get ebooks cheaper these days so you’re not out too much if you have to toss the book. But, we know for sure we’d never buy another book from the author. Thanks.

  3. marsharwest

    September 5, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Hey, Mary. My husband is like you. He spots errors with one eye closed. 🙂 I was terrified my first book would come out with a ton of errors, and he’d be soooo disappointed. Well, after 5 trips with a content editor, 3 with the line editor and twice with DH, it still has a couple of tiny glitches. (Of course there were too-many-times-to count times I and others read it before it even when to the publishers folks.)
    I read more and more requests for good editors on the various writing loops I’m on. A friend is self-pubbing after having two books with different publishers come out. She pays $300 for her editor, and I think that’s a real deal. Hard, hard work. You are absolutely correct about needing fresh eyes to go over the ms before the book is pubbed by whomever is pubbing. Great post, Mary.

    • maryvine

      September 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      Hi, Marsha! Everytime I see your picture I think, she sure looks like a school principal. Got that regal look, I guess. 🙂
      I sure wish it didn’t cost $300. We have to put so much into our books and most of them are not best sellers. Thanks for commenting.

      • marsharwest

        September 5, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        LOL “Regal” huh? I can’t wait to tell my family! LOL The money thing is tough. My friend is doing pretty well, but as I said she started with two books pubbed by smaller presses before she jumped into the indie waters. Her fan base is pretty strong even after just the two books. All a balancing act.

  4. Stephanie Berget

    September 5, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    I worked as an advertising proof-reader years ago and I seem to pick up errors in all the books I read. Like you, I can take a few, but too many and I move on to the next book. What surprises me now is I’m finding many errors in books put out by the big publishers. This is a recent development and not a good one.

    • maryvine

      September 5, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      I know, Steph, no one’s safe!

  5. patyjag

    September 5, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    I agree. There are too many self published books that have errors that could have easily been caught by a second pair of eyes. When I think a manuscript is done and ready for publication, I sent it through my oldest daughter for one more look and she always finds things I missed.

    I won’t read another book and sometimes won’t finish a book if it has too many errors. Like you I get angry.

    • maryvine

      September 5, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      Paty, I just heard of an author who pulled her newly released indie book because the reviews said she had too many errors. Thank for commenting!

  6. Jennifer

    September 5, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    I feel the same way you do. I can gloss over a few but if there are a lot then it gets annoying. It pulls me out of the story.

    • maryvine

      September 5, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      I guess we feel cheated. Thanks, Jen.

  7. Peggy Staggs

    September 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Editing is an art. I’ve heard of people who finish the book in the morning and put it up for sale in the afternoon. Never a good idea. On a show the other night they were asking people to tell them what was wrong with the sentence they were shown. I picked it up on the first pass. Most of the people asked missed it all together. All very interesting, and very difficult.


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