The importance of editing

I underestimated how long the revision to Sell Your Book on Amazon would take. I had hoped to have it done and available by now, however the editor had quite a few suggestions, which I’m now implementing.  This allows me an opportunity to stress the importance of professional copyediting when publishing a book.

A misconception that most authors who are pursuing conventional publishing have is that they don’t need to edit their work, and as a result, feel that paid copyediting services offered by publishing service companies represent another example of “money flowing the wrong way.”

Their feeling is, if they get published traditionally,  “the publisher will edit it.”

It is true that IF your work gets accepted by a traditional publisher, they will edit it without any cost to you.  But it’s not true that means you can submit a non-edited book for consideration.

That may be true for Stephanie Meyer, or Dan Brown, but it’s not true for you.  If you are submitting an unsolicited–or even a solicited–manuscript to a publisher or literary agent, it is in your best interest to pay to have it professionally copyedited before submission. 

Why?  Because this is an extremely competitive industry and if your cover letter and/or query letter and/or book proposal and/or manuscript is littered with mistakes — or even contains just a few — that makes it all the easier to reject. 

I’ll be the first to admit that every book I’ve published has contained at least one error — and that’s WITH editing! Imagine if I didn’t have them edited.   The beauty of print-on-demand is that those mistakes are much easier to correct than a 5,000-10,0000 print-run containing errors.  A number of my readers have been kind enough to politely point out small things I or my editor overlooked, and presto-done, POD makes post-publication changes a snap!  That’s why pencils have erasers, keyboards have “Backspace” and why Outskirts Press has its revision option. — Why? Because we’re all human.

The trouble with blogging – part one

Even though, officially, I’m a “fan” of blogging and I suggest that all entrepreneurs, professionals, and writers partake in the exercise of blogging on a consistent basis, for a variety of reasons, I have some basic difficulties with the whole thing. I can appreciate the philosophy behind blogging, the concept, but when the logistics, the reality, start to unfold, it just really isn’t all that it is supposed to be cracked up to be.

There – that previous sentence is a perfect example of one of my troubles with blogging. The writing can be … sloppy. Let’s face it, the majority of blogs out there are hard to read because they contain spelling and grammatical errors. If you can filter through the majority of blogs and arrive upon the minority that are professionally written, you are still, more often than not, presented with a level of writing that is redundant and messy, not fully fleshed-out, or not organized in any manner.

For example, I run each of my blog posts through a spell checker before I hit the “publish” button, but there are those out there who are cutting their teeth on the instant-gratification-world of blogs, twitter, and youtube, who would argue that “spell checking” a blog misses the whole point!  And then after I spell check it, I paste it back into the WordPress box, and then re-read it for grammar and, for lack of a better term, “user-friendliness.”  

But, in many cases, I may want to add a sentence or two of clarification to my previously spell-checked work and no matter how careful I believe I am, a typo may sometimes slip through. Do I have time to spell-check it again? Or do I have time to drastically re-write sentences or even paragraphs in an attempt to make the writing “better” or more organized?  Personally, I don’t and judging from the blogs in existence, few bloggers do. Now as the president of a self-publishing company, I’m hardly in a position to say “Blogging is fundamentally evil because it makes it easy to be a sloppy writer.”

No, I wouldn’t say it’s evil. But blogging does make it easier to be a sloppy writer, at least for me. And as a writer, I need things to motivate me to be a stronger writer, not things that allow me to be a weaker one.

Of course, the other side of the argument is that blogging, and self-publishing for that matter, at least encourages, and in many cases rewards, the act of writing itself — and in this day and age of movies, video games, and Iphones, that’s a small miracle that perhaps grants it some slack.