Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Self Publishing A to Z: EDITING

Welcome to the Trogloblog, where I ramble on about whatever strikes my fancy. For April, I'm participating in the epic A to Z Blogging Challenge, where Monday through Friday, I'll be posting a letter-themed article about  Self-Publishing...


You've written your masterpiece, you've formatted it, you've got your over, now you'e ready to upload it. HOLD ON! Not yet!

While it's true I espouse DIYing your work when you self-publish, there's one part of the process it may just be easier to get help with: Editing.

What is editing? Well, surely you've seen enough TV and movies to know that editors aren't just angry men that yell (JJJ, we're looking at you), they're polishers. That is, they take your work and make it better. 

The problem with DIYing everything is that your brain knows how you want it to look. So when you look over your work, proofing it and making sure it makes sense, there's every possibility you won't see your mistakes. 

If you're on a budget, you might ask a family member to read your book and help you spot those errors. That's nice, but are they qualified? That is, will they see them? Don't assume everyone is a grammar nazi like we writers tend to be. Your bestest pal may have difficulty spelling "book", so you might not want to trust them with proofing yours. What's more, if you ask grandma to read your epic Horror masterpiece, if she's never read horror before, she may not realize some of your sentences sound like Yoda on crack. 

Beta Readers are another way to edit your book on the sly. Of course, you need to find them. Many other aspiring indies may offer to trade edits with you. Quid Pro Correcto, so to speak. This is a nice way to network too, but again, you may end up getting what you pay for. 

There's Fiverr, of course. Another cheap way to get your work edited. But again, you may get what you paid for.

Author forums are chock full of slobbering sharks ready to sink their teeth into your wallet and edit for you. Here you may not get what you paid for. You may get less. Then again, the advantage here is that there are probably a lot of folks who can vouch for good editors. So at least you'll be able to rest easy and not fret about all that money you just gambled (because any money you spend on your self-published book is a gamble--you might not get any of it back).

In the end, I like to self-edit. I know, this is the complete opposite of what I said above, but bear with me...

Step one, try printing your work, or viewing on something other than what you wrote it on. Just being in different media helps errors stand out. Alternatively, you might try reading it out loud. While your brain may pull a dsylexic-like trick on you and hide errors as you read to yourself, when you speak your words aloud, you'll hear your screw ups. BONUS: record this reading and you've got an audio version of your book ready for audio editing (heh). 

Step Two, use a spell checker. Okay, that might have been better as step one, and you may think it's automatic, but it is a good way to spot simple errors. 

The final step in DIY editing is to upload your work to Amazon. Most people complain that KDP's automated system is a little stupid, marking things as misspellings that simply aren't. But this can also be helpful. I've caught many things that regular spellchecker didn't. 

Bonus Step... In the end matter of you book, you might put an email address or link teling readers if they find any errors, send them in. The promise of the next book free might encourage folks to do just that. Or might not. Your mileage may very.

When all is said and done, editing will make a better book, no matter you mastery level of the English language. However, as always, don't spend too much money on your masterpiece. Nothing says you can't upload your book, then reinvest the royalties into an improved, edited version later. After all, if no one buys it DIY-edited, professional editing probably won't boost sales, because you can't judge a books edits by the cover.

Check back tomorrow for the next article on self-publishing: FREEBIES. Until then, visit the A to Z Blog Challenge website for a diverse list of blogs to fit every taste. 

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