I am constantly amazed at how many errors there are in my manuscripts.
And I don’t mean the first draft.
Nothing is more frustrating for me than finding errors in my books, or worse, having others point them out. As well as being patently unprofessional I feel it shows a lack of respect for the work, not to mention the reader. I suppose this could be resolved by hiring a professional copy editor.
Bookbaby’s Copy Editing services include, “A word-by-word edit that addresses grammar, usage, and consistency issues.” My soon-to-be-released novella, Cold-Blooded, The Mattie Saunders Series Book II, is about 100 pages and would cost $700.00 to have it copy edited by Bookbaby
If I sell the e-book edition of Cold-Blooded for $3.99 on Amazon my royalty will be $1.40, which means I’d have to sell 500 copies to pay for the copy editing alone (in my dreams). So I’d rather recruit non-professionals who are committed to making my work error free.
Beta readers can be anyone, though I tend to shy away from friends and absolutely won’t use family. I’m not asking them to review or comment on the story (though I don’t discourage it), just read it and make note of the errors. Right now I have two who had previously reviewed my books (favourably). I contacted them to see if they’d like to beta-read my new works. The other one is a friend. None are professionals and they all do it for a free copy of the finished book with their name on the acknowledgements page.
Prior to sending the manuscript to my beta readers, I’ve developed a process to make it as error-free as possible.
1. Each time I sit down to write I re-read and revise what I wrote during the previous session.
2. After I finish a rough draft I revise it thoroughly, then let it rest.
3. After I’ve got the story out of my system, which means I no longer have instant recall for each line written (minimum three months), I pull it out and revise it again with fresh eyes.
4. Then comes the computer spell-check.
Then I send it out to my three beta readers.
I used to be pretty confident once I’d done all that I’d caught at least most of the typos and filled in the dropped words, but it’s embarrassing how many errors they still find, and it’s also remarkable how what one misses the other catches.
Once they get back to me I do the corrections which entails another revision. Finally, uploading it to Smashwords, Kindle and Draft2Digital gives me another opportunity to check it since I always do a visual review for formatting glitches.
I strongly urge other indie authors to begin recruiting beta readers – from your email list, through your website, on social media, a supportive friend, a note pinned on the bulletin board in the local library, or like I’m doing here in a blog (see below). You simply cannot have too many and they tend to fall away.
If you’re patient, methodical and persevere you can self-publish a respectable, error-free (fingers crossed) book.
Besides, there are no guarantees a professionally edited, self-publish book will have any more success than one that is carefully vetted by a group amateurs committed to making your work the best it can be.
Plus you’ll save a lot of money.
Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs
If you’d like to become a beta reader and have an opportunity to read (and improve) my new work free, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Web links associated with this article:
Bookbaby Editing Services https://www.bookbaby.com/book-editing-services
Kindle Direct Publishing https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US
Rod Raglin’s Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU