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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


Web links associated with this article:

Bookbaby Editing Services

Kindle Direct Publishing



Rod Raglin’s Amazon Author Page




Original post:


TulipMeldIMG1_0029 copy – publishing and writing technology that fails to deliver

Back in November I wrote a blog entitled, “matches manuscripts to non-existent pages, vanity press when I discovered that the platform that claims to “…connects writers, agents and publishers to find manuscripts, manage submissions and get books published” had connected one of my uploaded books to publishing sites that, among other inconsistencies, didn’t even exist or wanted me to pay them to publish my book. In fact, sixty percent of “matches” didn’t actually match.

Further to that, today I received an email from one of the sites that actually did “match”, Black Rose Writing, saying they “were going to pass on Loving the Terrorist (my novel) at present”, however if I decided to self-publish to consider their imprint, Bookend Design “where (you) would work directly with the Black Rose Writing Design Team.”

I’m wondering how much business Black Rose Writing gets from submissions from authors hoping for a traditional publishing contract and then redirecting them to their self-publishing imprint, Bookend Design?

Is there no end to the scams in this industry? And what about vetting these so-called publishers for their site?

Technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights.

The latest product from is Intelligent Editorial Analysis, “technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights.”

They offered me the opportunity to test drive this product and so I uploaded the manuscript of my novel The Big Picture, A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic.

On a scale of 1 to 100, where a 100 most resembles a commercially viable book, my manuscript scored 85.48.

My strengths included “an elevated level of craft” because of my “measured use of adjectives like “very” ” as well as “going easy on the exclamation marks”. Weaknesses were inconsistent spelling (they don’t say what), explicit language (curse words) and the use of clichés .

This last one I’d challenge but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and I don’t plan to get bent out of shape over it since it’s all grist for the mill.

If you want to try this out it will now cost you $49. Go to

InstaFreebie bolsters Advance Reading Team E-mail list

I just finished a trial offer on Instafreebie. For those of you who are not familiar with this giveaway platform here’s how it’s described on their site:

InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways, we live our mission every day and give readers a chance to SEE IT FIRST™.InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways.

Their basic program is free but I signed up for a thirty day free trial of the “Plus” program that allowed me to add subscribers to my email list. Fourteen people received an e-book edition of one of my novels and became a member of my Advance Reading Team by opting in with their email address.

A monthly subscription to this program is $20. That works out to $1.43 and e-mail.


Here’s the site address:

Deliver an hour long workshop – sell a few books

I delivered an hour long workshop on Introduction to Memoir Writing. This was in return for an opportunity to sell my books at the event. It worked, but if you factored in my time in preparation and the actual presentation I ended up subsidizing the sales.

There’s got to be easier ways to sell books. Any ideas?

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.


Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

Video book reviews of books about how to write fiction as well as the work of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

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Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music




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