So right up front, I know I’m taking a gamble with today’s headline. I only hope most readers of this blog will be able to translate Improtance into Importance, and Poorfreading into Proofreading. Goodness knows Spellcheck tried to change them on me.

The reason for the attempt at comedy here is to inject a bit of levity into what writers often consider a tedious subject—that of editing and proofreading. And I’ll admit, I take these things to an extreme.

Why? Because they’re important.

The great American novelist John Gardner wrote Good fiction sets off…a vivid and continuous dream in the reader’s mind. Any time something pulls the reader out of that dream state—and a typo will do it every time—the reader has to make a conscious effort to get back into it.

And that’s not good.

 

Yeah, But…So What?

I know some of my fellow writers will read this and say, So what? Don’t all books these days have a fair number of errors, even those from the big publishers?

My answer: yes, that’s true…which is why we indie authors have to do even better.

Now, you may think that’s counterintuitive, and it is. After all, large publishers have large resources, both financially and otherwise. How can indie authors possibly compete?

But you see, that’s the point. If you want to compete in a crowded marketplace, you have to stand out from the crowd.

 

Isn’t A Great Story Enough?

To push it even further, my devil’s advocate readers might wonder, Well, why do I have to put so much emphasis on editing and proofreading? Isn’t a great story enough?

In a word: no.

You have to have a great story. That goes without saying. But you also need excellent editing, and yes, proofreading.

Fellow author Nina Soden wrote a great post about the inevitability of typos in manuscripts. In it, she notes that even award-winning authors have typos in some of their books. But she also emphasizes that she does the best she can to make sure errors are minimized in her novels.

A great editor may charge a thousand dollars or more for a manuscript, but proofreaders will work for as little as $15/hour. Yet they are worth their weight in gold. If you’ve gone through your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb after the editing is done, you can get your typo rate down to nearly nothing.

Think about it. If traditional publishers average about six errors per book, and your indie book has three, or two, or none, what will readers think when they read it?

They just might think, Wow, this is really good.

And isn’t that what’s it all about?

Breaking Into the Top 100

Recently, I posted something on LinkedIn called Author, Entrepreneur, or Authorpreneur? My point was that, if you're interested in breaking into the top 100 in your Amazon category, you're probably going to have to spend some time acting like a businessperson when it...

Book Fair Time Coming September 17th

Most of my blog posts are related in one way or another to the business of being an author - expanding your author platform, improving your book marketing, and so on - and not strictly self-promotional. However, every once in a while, I've got a radio interview or...

Five Mistakes New Authors Make

Every author starts as a newbie, even if they held a job as a writer in some other capacity. The publishing business can be incredibly daunting for a newcomer: many authors work alone without much feedback, so their mistakes, while understandable, are also far too...

A Little Pay Upfront…or A Lot More Pay Year After Year

So many writers think they should never pay for publishing. I don't blame them for thinking that way, but here’s how it really plays out. Authors are natural idealists, so of course we typically figure we can get a deal with a big publishing company, leading to smooth...

Self-Care for Creatives

Today's post is not about coronavirus, because—let's face it—aren't we all sick of being bombarded with news and info about it all day, every day? The situation is getting worse, and will be for a while before it gets better. Duly noted. However, I do want to give...
black friday

From Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday: A Reflection

​Not so long ago, it was easy to think of the week of Thanksgiving as “Gratitude Week.” In fact, I actually did that: back in 2016, Facebook reminds me, I posted an entire week’s worth of “Things I’m Grateful For” to my timeline. It was fun, and certainly provided...
newsletter

Got The No-Good Lowdown Indie Author Newsletter Blues

It’s Monday again, and that means it’s time for my weekly blog post. Today I’m going to talk a bit about newsletters—more specifically, the kind of newsletter an indie author like myself sends to his readers. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, an...
artists

Calling All Artists

This week's blog post is going to be super short: if you've ever read the blog, you’ll know I'm posting often about my upcoming book launch. I’m releasing my fourth novel in 2019, and I’m putting a lot of emphasis on finding artists first. I put out a call for graphic...
metaphysical

Five Ways You Can Help With a Local Book Launch Event

This week I want to write a bit more about my fourth novel, Whizzers. It’s my current Work-In-Progress, and I plan to have it finished this year in order to launch it in 2019. One of the few luxuries of being an independent author is that I haven’t set a firm...

Cover Reveal: Rides From Strangers

Rides From Strangers is coming! Today’s post is a reminder about the upcoming publication of my new short story collection, which is indeed called Rides From Strangers, after the first story in the book. For those of you already on my email newsletter list, I will be...