So, you’ve taken the time to write a beautiful book and for whatever reason, you’ve passed on the mass-market publishers and decided to go it alone. Well, that’s just great! Except that means you have to go it alone! Before you upload any files, before you choose fonts, your cover or your price, make sure your book is well-edited.
I know, you had English composition in high school and know what a noun and a predicate are, but you only have one set of eyes. And, as you scan your manuscript over, your mind knows what you meant to say in each sentence and each paragraph. But….your future reader may not. You have got to get some help. Call your brother, or your friend or neighbor, or better yet, that high school teacher or librarian and tell them you’d love to have them look at your book.
You’re entrusting them with a job resume! If your book is well-written, thought-provoking and exciting, you’ll get hired all over in the form of book sales. If there are issues (there are, trust me), your book will sit alone and you’ll get no sales. So, choose wisely, and reward your friend for their efforts. Tell them you want to take them to lunch first. Catch up on old times, then offer your work and don’t give them a digital copy. Think about this.
Giving them a printed copy that they can highlight, star, crease, and markup is the best way to go! Now, reel in your fears and your ego, and let them tell you where you screwed up. If they just say it’s great, get another person to do the dirty work. Your work isn’t great. Not on the first try.
And now, the real truth about books on Kindle: Readers don’t mind a few goofs. A goof is a little grammar issue or a misspelling. It happens. If you have a riveting story the readers will still love it. If you kill the guy with a .44 Magnum and refer to it later as a .38 special, that’s unforgivable. You can do better. Readers want a good story, and a great story is better.
So, remember that editing includes more than grammar and syntax. You need a review that tells you if your characters are full – or bull. Do they stand alone, warts and all? Or are they stiff and dull with no character or idiosyncrasies? In other words, are they believable, fun, annoying? Are they motivated to do what they do? Is a potential reader still motivated to keep turning the pages?
A great plot, proper pacing, and a gripping story are the keys to selling readers (and books). Without those things, you are lost as an author. Get someone to read your book and then take some advice from them. It hurts, but it helps. Go write!