Mmmm good day. It's been a busy one for me. I've gone to job orientation for a new job (Got to pay them bills!) to make up the difference while I kick everything else into high gear. I've done my first draft edit of about 5 chapters of my book. I've written a chapter in another book, and decided how to proceed with said book.
Of all of those things, I think I enjoyed the editing the least. I really don't like editing. If I could do without it, I would. However, I cannot do without it. Unedited, my writing is horrible, my grammar is weak, and my story telling is strained. My rough draft is always a mess. You may have even noticed some evidence of this on my blogs. I try to catch it all, but it's a big job.
Good editing can really set a story apart. I was browsing through the latest free kindle books on promotion by Amazon, and reading their reviews, and I was struck by the common thread in many of the reviews of these self published books. That thread was the thread of many obvious mistakes. One review mentioned that the writer had completely neglected to put quotations around his dialog. So the only way to tell the difference between between characters talking and descriptive paragraphs was the inclusion of the occasional he said, she said. I of course chose to download this, but I haven't had the chance to see for myself yet.
I suppose me downloading it suggests it may have just been a clever marketing ploy, but I find that unlikely.
It occurred to me, that it could well be that the only thing keeping these people from being really big would be the strength of their editing. For many of these stories, almost everyone would say 'It's a great story!' or 'It's full of engaging characters.' but then it would get to the rest and these same reviewers would say 'Full of typos.'. Of course, some reviewers never noticed at all, but the ones that that did were numerous enough to hurt their ratings.
I know how hard it is! I really do, if it wasn't for the lads at Ravania, I would be a sorry mess with my writing. We thankfully have something of a support group, we each bear the burden of editing. I find I can read my work as many times as I want and still won't see what I need to see, because I see what I meant to write, not what I actually write. Add a fresh set of eyes that weren't involved in the writing of the story, and all the missed typos start coming to life.
That said, there is a difference between a few missed words, and typos on every page. If you try to hit perfection every time, you'll never actually finish a book. Just be thorough, take the time and effort, and do the best you can. Remember, the keen eyed will find typos even in New York Times best sellers.
To any new authors, or even established indie authors, I'd recommend passing your works to as many people as you feel comfortable with. Try and priorities those who are willing to actually look and not just read. I pick my Father as one of my readers because if there is a misspelled word, he will find it. The man once found a typo in a crossword puzzle, much to his frustration. He doesn't do so good on story content, but I have other people in my reader group to look for those. Different eyes see different things. The more eyes that go over your work, the more they'll see, provided, again, there the kind of people who will look rather than just read.
Remember, if you don't try to set a standard for yourself, you'll never stand out above the crowd.
Till next time!