You’ve dreamed of the day when you can hold in your hands a copy of your own book. You imagine showing it off to friends and family as you proudly declare you ARE an author. But as you are preparing to self-publish your own book, I urge you to make sure you – or more importantly your book – are ready.
There is a lot that goes into self-publishing and marketing your book. But I am not talking about finding your target market or figuring out which method of advertising will reach those readers. No, I am talking about making sure the book you wrote – the one you are about to introduce to all those eager readers – is ready.
And this is not just advice for newbies. This holds true whether you are an author with two to three books or one that has a dozen or more under your belt. Don’t let anyone else tell you how quickly you should be putting out books. Just because one author spits out one every other month, doesn’t mean that you should do the same thing.
So what do I mean by “make sure your book is ready?”
I mean don’t hurry through the editing process. Yes, writing a book is a huge accomplishment. However, that is only the first step. Now comes the hard part – editing. It can take countless hours to weed out inconsistencies, fix timelines, refine word choice, and the list goes on.
The key with editing is that you can’t tackle all the editing issues at once. You need to concentrate on only a few at a time. (I use this revision outline to help me.) There is no magic number on how many times you will re-read your novel trying to improve it. And trust me, it is easy to get stuck on revising your wording.
There are a couple of tips I suggest for all writers.
- Beta Readers/Editor – Have someone else read your book. A fresh set of eyes can catch inconsistencies and other errors in the plot.
- Take a break. Don’t work on or read your novel for a period of time. When you come back to it, you will be able to see errors that you couldn’t see when you were slaving away on it daily.
- Proofreading – You, a friend with knowledge of spelling and grammar, a teacher, run it through every grammar program you can find, or even hire a professional – or do all the above – to correct grammar and spelling. And if you make content changes, it needs to be proofread again. (That is why this is typically the last step before publishing.)
I can’t stress this last one enough. No matter how strong or compelling of a story you have written, there is nothing worse than turning off readers with a bunch of spelling and grammatical errors. And really by rushing to publish a book that isn’t ready, you are creating a negative image of not just you but other indie authors.
So rather than rush and put out a mediocre story. Take your time to rewrite, to edit, to polish and to proof your novel until it IS ready for all those hungry readers out there.