Monday, May 9, 2011

Get Your Writing Edited

It’s no secret the independent publishing revolution is making tidal waves in the book industry. Thanks to the ease and low expense of e-book publishing, millions of authors are offering their books for sale without the intermediary services of traditional publishing houses. The result has offered unprecedented opportunities for young authors to express themselves and share their work with a wide audience—but it has also brought its share of downfalls. Chief among those downfalls is the surge of poorly written and poorly edited books glutting the market. Today, AC would like to share a guest post from author Rob Kennedy, who offers a compelling plea for indie authors to present quality work.

Every author, no matter how he’s published, owes it to himself, his readers, and his fellow authors to offer stylistically correct, professionally edited material. Indie authors should consider this: Every poorly edited indie book on the market has the potential to alienate hundreds of readers from the entire independent community. Before you hit “publish” on that brand spanking new manuscript, take a moment to read Rob’s thoughts, below, and consider the damage you may be doing, not only to your own writing career, but also to your fellow indies.

“Words are all I have to take your heart away.” – The Bee Gees

As an enthusiastic indie reader and writer, I have purchased and read twelve indie novels this year, all bought on Amazon, direct to Kindle. What I’ve found is that all twelve suffer with similar problems: poor editing—mostly copyediting issues.

Copyediting is a process of technical correction done by freelance professionals with an obsessions for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formal style. – Alana Rinzler, The Art of Freelance Editing
These twelve books came from Australian and international writers. The writers varied in age from early twenties to late sixties, male and female. Some have many books self-published; for some, it was their debut novel.

The reason I included the Bee Gees quote above is to highlight the point that as writers, words are all we have; we create stories made of words, and when those words are not right, or not at their best, we’re doing our readers and ourselves a disservice.

The first step for new writers to use in improving their writing is to turn on every spelling, grammar, and auto correct options Word offers. The suggestions offered by these programs won’t always be correct, but they can be invaluable in helping you learn and implement basic spelling and grammar rules. When you get to know your writing better, and when you have built your writing skills, style and structure base, only then turn them off, if you can prove you know your writing inside-out. I can’t see myself turning off my checkers for some time.

Online writing checkers can also be useful. Use them. They will help, and most are free. I use EditMinion, which picks up things that Word can’t.

The second step is to get an editor. No writer can pick out, see, or decipher his or her writing problems. My writing now reads clearer and my words more effectively, since I took on an editor. A good editor will turn your writing (and possibly your life) around. A good editor will push you along the path to becoming a read and sought-after writer.

Don’t let your unique and interesting stories go to waste through bad editing. If you’ve devoted your life to writing, as I have, you will increase your chances of making your writing loved and admired if you begin by self-editing, then get another to read your work, then, send it to an editor.

Remember, words are all we have. Your readers can’t read your mind.
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