Monday, August 5, 2013

Editing and Risky Business

Lindsey Rietzsch
It's been so exciting and rewarding to hear from all the new authors who have found our blog helpful and inspiring. If it took reading this blog to help some of you finally open that door to the world of publishing then I'd say we have accomplished what we set out to do.

For some, the motivation has been so astounding that I'm susrpised to learn that many of you have jumped right in hoping to publish your first book as soon as possible (because we make it sound so easy). Though I'm thrilled to hear the news, I want to add a bit of a caution coming from the mouth of someone who just learned the hard way.

No matter how good your book may be, let's face it - a poorly edited book is very distracting indeed! You want people to be using their brainpower (as little as possible)  to soley enjoy the flow of your book - and when that flow gets interrupted often and that brainpower has to be used to try and decipher what your sentence is supposed to mean rather than what twist awaits on the next page, well you might just lose your reader and even worse, lose a fan.

Be sure to edit, edit, edit! Don't rush publishing your book just so you can finally cross it off your to-do list. I myself had a timeline on my most recent book and wanted to get it done as soon as possible. I read through it several times even with extra sets of eyes and thought I had caught just about every mistake in there. I assured myself that of course there would be mistakes discovered down the road even after all of our editing because that's the case with all first edition books (hence the purpose for editions). However (a big HOWEVER might I add), in my rush I didn't realize that I had uploaded the wrong file onto amazon - an earlier edition without the final editing complete. Let me just say I turned about ten shades of red when the text messages and emails started pouring in from my readers pointing out the various errors.

Unfortunately it was too late. The week of free downloads was almost over and after realizing that 2,000 people now had the poorly editied version of my book on their kindles, iphones and desktops, was enough to make me want to crawl under my bed and hide from embarrassment. For a moment I told myself that all was well - clearly the readers couldn't be too annoyed as they downloaded it for free, right? Wrong - in addition to my shattered pride, the reviews were starting to come in and the poor editing had clearly made an impact on the ratings I was receiving. A few readers weren't slow at pointing out the annoying errors. It didn't matter that I already had fixed the problem and uploaded the fine tooth combed version of my book, the damage was clearly done.

I saw how readers were sharing my book through amazon and realized that the new readers would also be exposed to that accidental first version and it would taint their experience with my book as well as their impression of me as a writer. I never wanted a time machine more than I did in that moment.

So, the moral of this story is that it's better to delay publishing in order to have a finely edited piece of work you can be proud to have your name attached to rather than pushing it out there and risking your reviews and reputation to suffer.

If you can't afford to hire an editor, I recommend asking at least six people to go through your manuscript and to edit as best they can. You'll be amazed at how extra sets of eyes will catch so many different mistakes. What one may overlook, another will noitce. In exchange you can make them a treat basket or repay them however you feel. An additional benefit of this is that you'll have six reviews before your book is even published. You can use this to your marketing advantage which will give your book a head start on release day.

Keep up the hard work and don't forget to leave your comments down below. We hear from you so often through private messaging about how much you love these posts - don't forget to post those comment here as well - we get them just the same! 

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