I’ve been wanting to write this post for a couple of days now. I think it is probably a good idea that I waited before doing it. I was all set for a full-on rant. By waiting I’ve mellowed some; hopefully this will be a more productive post – might convey my thoughts and opinions better since I’m no longer seeing red! Hee hee
Lately (as in the past six months), I’ve read several books/ novellas that have been self-published. While I don’t have anything against self-publishing (I’m all set to try it myself), I do have some comments.
First and foremost: Please, please, please proofread your work or have someone else do it. Even if that means forking out the money for an editor, it will be worth it in the long run. As a reader, I am very particular (and critical) when I read. I’ve noticed that books which are self-published tend to have a lot more errors than those that aren’t (I’m speaking in general terms here so forgive me for lumping books into categories). Whether they are spelling, the wrong word, or grammar, the errors are there – and glaring.
When editing, one thing that works for me is to print out the story and read it out loud. It forces you to read what is printed on the page – your mind can’t automatically add in those missing words. It will also help you catch words that are spelled correctly but are the wrong word – say where instead of were, for instance. It will also help you notice if you used the wrong character name.
Also, if you insist on editing yourself and grammar isn’t your strong suit, take a class. Several colleges offer online classes on editing and grammar and general English refreshers. You will likely find this to be money well spent.
When you put your work out there, it stays with you. Heaven forbid, you self-publish a piece with all kinds of errors – maybe you were in a hurry or maybe you just didn’t know better – and people start reading it. Can you imagine the comments? Do you want people avoiding a later work because they assume it will be fraught with errors when you took the time to make sure that piece was edited correctly?
Currently I’m upset with myself over not catching a typo in my bio. If I would have taken the time to follow my own advice, I would have caught it sooner or probably avoided it altogether. As it is, I’m chalking it up to a learning experience.
I’ll cut my rant off now. Bottom line: Authors, your readers demand quality work. Take the time and effort to give it to them. It will serve you so much better in the long run!