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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Getting your first novel ready

Preparing one's first novel for publishing can be stressful. It took me several months to get my first, As Snow Falls, to the point I thought it was ready. In anticipation I clicked the publish button. As an author I've learned a lot since then. Now with ten published stories, soon eleven, I want to share my experience with you.

The single most important thing an author needs to do is have their book professionally edited. I've actually seen indie authors who didn't bother with it or self-edited. Don't do it. If you have a limited budget, spend it on editing. 

A word about self-editing. It's great to do before handing over to a professional editor but no matter how qualified the author is there will be mistakes that didn't get caught.

That's not to say even a professionally edited indie published book won't receive critical reviews. I promise you that will happen because people read indie books with a far more cynical eye than those from the big 6. 

I see the exact same mistakes in the big 6 published books that I see in indie books. It's not fair but indies need a thick skin and a professionally edited book.

After edits are done than a proofreader with a keen eye should take a look at the manuscript. That's where I see the most mistakes with indie books. They have have silly mistakes. A proofreader will find those for you.

I didn't know any editors when I published As Snow Falls so I hired one through Createspace and she was good. She did exactly what I hired her for. I also paid a fortune! Two and a half years ago I incidentally met an editor who I love. She's amazing! 

I understood immediately the importance of having a polished book and want to share what I've learned with others. In January I was hired as an independent contractor by C.M. Wright's Author Services as a proofreader. In working with the company completing practice editing runs leading into actual editing for authors I am now part of the Big 3 editing team. And yes, we to do practice editing to continue building our skills. I can say C.M. Wright's Author Services has a tight editing team who is qualified to edit your novel.

We also work well as a team to bring you a polished novel and we won't require you to change your novel but we will offer you recommendations.

The last novel I edited is soon to be released. The author had an amazing story and it was a pleasure to me that I was able to offer her suggestions to make her good story fantastic. Once she has completed all the edits I offered the novel will go through the proofreading process to eliminate typos and strengthen the grammar. It surprises me how many people assume since their novel was edited they have no need for proofreading. That's silly there's always little errors left after editing. 

What to expect from C.M. Wright's Author Services:
We'll offer suggestions to strengthen your novel
We'll give reasoning behind our suggestions
We won't force the author to change their book
It is up to the author to accept or reject our suggestions

The Big 3 editing includes:
Developmental editing which includes looking at the structure and consistency of the story as a whole. 

Line editing is where we correct sticky or wordy sentences.

Developmental and line editing go hand in hand.

Copy editing is where an editor corrects the grammar. 

Visit the website for a more detailed description of these editing processes. http://www.cmwauthorservices.com/editing-services.html

Once all that is finished and the author has made corrections it's really important to have it proofread because it's easy as an author to think you've cleared all the errors but there's usually tiny errors left behind especially if an author has reworded sentences or even added/deleted paragraphs.

I'll use my latest book Return to the Bay as an example. Here's the book cover: 
Read the back cover. Do you see the error?

adversaries reads adversaries'. Huh? That isn't in the edited blurb so why is it on the cover. I did the back cover myself and cut and pasted the words. I've rechecked the blurb on word it's not there. Ugh... Now I have to correct the cover and upload it again.No big deal but I'm glad a member of my street team (also my editor) caught it before I ordered the proof copy because I didn't see it. a second set of eyes is best friend to an author.

At C.M. Wright's Author Services we'll edit a sample for free. We want to show you how good we are. Click here for more info.

Since this is a blog post it's not edited not even proofread so there's probably errors. As mentioned earlier self-editing doesn't catch the errors no matter the qualifications of the writer so I'm sure there's errors in this post. Can you find them?

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