These days self-publishing is HOT. Although there are pitfalls, there’s always a chance that you’ll write the next Amazon bestseller; you may earn many thousands of dollars a day from a single book.
OK, let’s lay our fantasies aside.
Before you hit the Publish button, you need to prepare your book for its big launch day. One of the most popular questions I receive about self-publishing is: “Do I need an editor?”
Self-publishing: do you need an editor?
The short answer is yes. You do. No matter how experienced you are, you’re too close to your words. You’ve been working on your novel or nonfiction book for weeks, if not months, so there’s no way you can be objective.
That said, you need to do some self-editing to tidy up your book before you pay a professional editor.
It’s time to focus on the macro and micro editing which you must do yourself. Please don’t hand your editor a mess — give your editor a real chance to help, and that’s only possible if you handle the mess yourself, first.
Only after you’ve made your book as good as you can make it, should you hand it to an editor.
In Editing Your Fiction To Sell: Macro And Micro Editing Tips I offer a process for self-editing:
Start with macro editing: do you have a STORY?
New authors think of editing as messing around with words. However, if you’re focusing just on the words when you begin editing, you might as well be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
Your story comes first. Do you have a story? No matter what you’re writing: a novel, a serial, a novella, a short story, your first concern is that you’ve got a story.
(Read that article if you’ve just finished a book; it will help.)
Now let’s look at our tips for editing and proofreading.
1. Copyediting: check your facts (seriously, DO IT)
Be sure to check your facts. Check them before you hire an editor.
Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, it’s very easy to get things wrong. Readers will notice. They might not one-star you, but they’ll be pulled out of the book if you’re writing a novel, and the chances that they’ll buy your next novel are slim.
If you’re writing nonfiction, making mistakes is disastrous. Even if you’re self-publishing, you need to be able to back up your facts authoritatively. Consider citing sources in an Appendix, or a Notes section, if you’ve done lots of research.
2. Proofreading: use a text to speech program
Do a quick proof after you’ve self-edited, and another proof after the editor has sent her or his edits.
No matter how often you proof, there’s always one small typo which sneaks past you — and also sneaks past the proofreaders you hire, more often than not.
Initially, use a text to speech program. It’s often easier to hear an error than to see it, because you’ve been reading your work over and over. Next, try Typely; currently the app’s free.
Have fun with editing — all the hard work of writing is done. Now it’s time to add a polish to your book, and prepare it for readers.
Check out our current special offerings
1. Hot Plots: Craft Hot-Selling Fiction in 5 Minutes (or less)
Writing fiction? Take advantage of our wonderful Hot Plots offering. It takes the mystery out of plotting, and writing fiction.
2. Story Power: Write and Sell Short Fiction — Short Stories, Serials, and Series
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3. Content Witchery And Magic
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Happy writing. 🙂
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