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?

travel

Travel Feeds the Soul

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu I wish I could say I've always loved to travel. Maybe I'm good at being in a different place; the getting there is sometimes a whole other story. Traveling to a foreign locale can be...
meditation

Which Is Better For Writers – Meditation or Exercise?

A while back, I did an interview about creativity, and I talked about meditation and exercise. I also talked about a few other things like journaling, play, and being disciplined about a schedule.For writers, you might think meditation is going to be the number one...
drivers

Florida Drivers, Beware

This weekend I had to run out for essentials, which I’m only doing when absolutely necessary. But it seems like plenty of other people were out there, too, and I can’t help believing some of them just didn’t want to be bored at home. So when it came time for me to get...

But I’m Too Busy to Blog!

If you're like me, you're a committed writer: maybe you keep to a rigorous writing schedule, or maybe you have actually written a full-length book or books. Chances are good that if you're reading this, you're also a blogger. Maybe you even have a blog like this one....
impostor

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #3: Impostor Syndrome, aka The Self-Confidence Deficit

“The most helpful quality a writer can cultivate is self-confidence—arrogance, if you can manage it. You write to impose yourself on the world, and you have to believe in your own ability when the world shows no sign of agreeing with you.”  —Hilary Mantel  ...

Strictly Commercial In SE Asia

Three weeks is not a normal lapse of time between blog posts for me. I try to blog at least once a week, anyway, but from November 9th through November 23rd, I was on my first real vacation since 2015. The destination: my wife's native Thailand. This was my fifth trip...
music

Music, Music, Music, and “I Could Write a Book”

I woke up thinking about Turkish drummers. It didn't take long—I don't know much about Turkish drummers. —Bruce Cockburn Music has always been a big part of my life. Maybe not everyone who reads this blog knows that, but anyone who knows me does. From the time I was a...
twitter

Best Accounts to Follow on Twitter

Recently I wrote a blog post about how many writers struggle to find interesting topics. It occurred to me that, for those of us who are writers and/or entrepreneurs, one good topic for this blog might be Best Accounts to Follow on Twitter. Of course, this is totally...
no more for the road

No More For The Road

I took my last drink 32 years ago. Hard to believe I’ve reached that many years of continuous sobriety. If you’d asked me the day before I stopped drinking whether I had an alcohol problem, I would have said No. Mainly because I didn’t think I did. What I had was an...

It’s A Small World After All

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...