Sunday, May 7, 2017

Baring the Bones of Proofreading and Editing

October of 2015 I opened up shop as Affordable Proofreading & Editing Service, LLC. Why did I do this? I was already a published author in my own right. I certainly did not have a wealth of time on my hands. I hold down an 8-5 job and am caregiver to my elderly father - and still must find time to write. What was my motivation to give up what little free time I did have?

I’ll tell you what… The need to see polished work in the self-publishing field. Manuscripts that are of a better quality assist all of us in sales, not just the author of the particular book.

Thinks about this…

A reader sees an ad on social media, be it Facebook, Google+, Twitter, wherever… They are intrigued by the cover and click on the link… The blurb for the book sounds interesting and the price is reasonable… (Anything 99 cents to $3.99 is reasonable.) They think, ‘heck, that’s only the cost of a fancy coffee.’

They click the download button, and you, the person who wrote this masterpiece, and birthed it one rainy day, after frustrating multiple tries to upload to Amazon or Smashwords with limited success, have sold a book!

But, my friends, this is only the beginning. Now it is going to be read.

Whether this is a good experience or a bad one for the reader, now lies entirely in your hands.

If you have so many errors in the first fifteen pages of the book that your reader feels like they have been repeatedly smacked in the head, you are toast and so is your book. If you are lucky, they stick with you and finish the read. Maybe even post a review, with the proviso that the book needs another good proofing to make it truly deserve that 4 Star rating. If you are unlucky, they delete the book from their device and it sits forever in their cloud like a cold coffee on a busy desk. If you are really unlucky, they post a nasty review or even worse… tell their friends about this book they wasted money on when they could have had a nice caramel macchiato.

Now, take a seat in this reader’s recliner and think about this.

The following day, that same person has nothing to read and they see another eye-catching ad and download that book. They have a similar experience. This book is reasonably well proofread, but the story line is jumbled. They send this one to e-book hell too. It’s stuck in the cloud for eternity.

Fast forward… Several more of these experiences later the reader finally says, ‘been there… done that… not going to go there again.” Your reader is no longer a ‘self-published author’ reader, they have moved back to the traditional publishers. Why? Because they know the books there will be proofed, edited and a decent read, since someone (the publisher) took the time to see it done right.

This reader is most likely gone for good. The self-published author readership is down by one. This affects the whole self-publishing field.

According to the latest Bowker Report (September 7, 2016), more than 700,000 books were self-published in the U.S. in 2015. Unfortunately, the marketplace is not able to absorb all these books and is hugely oversaturated.

Because of this, we all need to make sure our manuscripts are as close to spotless as possible. We are the ‘publishers’ of our books. We are the ‘quality checkers.’

As a part-time proofreader and editor, I can tell you there are errors in books I worked on that were totally unacceptable to a reader. A book with the same character name spelled two ways. If you can’t keep your character names straight then what else are you missing? Tense changes in the middle of sentences from present to past run rampant. Spelling errors that could have been caught by a simple spell check on the computer. Run-on sentences that would take your breath away and repetition of adjectives in the same paragraph or even sentence.

This is why I founded Affordable Proofreading & Editing Service, LLC. I hope to improve the self-publishing world overall. I want us each to succeed, so we all can succeed.

Let’s not allow the readers to escape. Why not build a strong self-publishing industry where they know they are in safe hands with quality reads?

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