If I had a nickel for every time I heard a self-published author excuse their typos due to being unable to afford a professional editor, I would have at least $5.00 by now.
While a manuscript with one or two errors is passable, there’s no reason to send something out into the world that a grade school English teacher would cringe at. Seriously, enough with the half-finished manuscripts, people.
Not being able to afford an editor is no excuse to send a hack-job of a manuscript out into the world—doing so can have even bigger repercussions than just firing up the self-proclaimed grammar Nazis of the online world. Publishing content with multiple errors and mistakes hurts your personal brand and will almost definitely affect your success as a writer.
How? Think of it this way—you, as a writer, are like a business. Your words are what you use to market yourself, from your back cover copy to your query emails. Just like a business, you need to be aware of how you present yourself to the public, whether it’s just a small group of other authors, or you are self-publishing through Amazon. If you present yourself as an author who publishes half-finished content, that is exactly how you will be seen. Just as if a business were to sell damaged products at a discount. Sure, people would buy them, but that business would
If you present yourself as an author who publishes half-finished content, that is exactly how you will be seen.
You need to think of your readers as your potential employers, because in a way, that’s exactly what they are. You’d probably never intentionally submit a resume with a mistake in it, so why on earth would you do so with your story?
I can hear you asking how you are supposed to send out error-free content when you can’t afford to pay $75/hour for an editor. Start by doing the following:
- Once your story is written, turn off your spell check and read through it on your own.You will see more errors when you aren’t being distracted by irrelevant suggestions from Word.
- Use Grammarly. The free version is good enough to get you through the basics, and it is much more intelligent than your average word processor’s editor. I use the premium version at work and the free version at home.
- Find someone to trade drafts with. There are other writers out there just like you, I promise. Find one you like and ask them to review your draft.
- Refuse to settle for “good enough”. If you want to be recognized for your work on a bigger scale than your local writing group, put in the extra time. Self-editing sucks. We all know it. But do it anyway. Do it once, then do it again.
- Take your time. Stop trying to pump out books as fast as you can. Write. Edit. Rewrite. Edit. Keep going until it’s better than you thought it could be. Then start to think about publishing. Quality, not quantity.
There are too many e-books out there that, unfortunately, aren’t worth the money that they are being sold for. If you want a strong personal brand as an author, and you want to sell more than 25 copies, you’re going to have to start thinking bigger than just a good idea. Do your best to produce something worth putting out there, and then do even better. The tips discussed can help you to make your manuscript more than just a beginning and an end.
A story is much more than its telling.
What do you think, are typos OK in published stories? Are you focused on quality or quantity?
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