“Words are all I have to take your heart away.” – The Bee Gees
As an enthusiastic indie book reader and writer, I have purchased and read hundreds of indie novels, all bought on Amazon, direct to Kindle. What I’ve found is that many suffer from similar problems: poor editing, mostly copyediting issues.
“Copyediting is a process of technical correction done by freelance professionals with an obsession for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formal style.” – Alana Rinzler, The Art of Freelance Editing.
These books came from Australian and international writers. They varied in age from early twenties to late sixties, male and female. Some had many books self-published; for some, it was their debut novel.
The reason I included the Bee Gees quote above is to highlight the point, that as writers, words are all we have; we create stories made of words, and when those words are not right, or not at their best, we’re doing our readers and ourselves a disservice.
The first step for new authors to improve their writing is to turn on every spelling, grammar, and auto correct options Word offers. The suggestions offered by these programs won’t always be correct, but they can be invaluable in helping you learn and implement basic spelling and grammar rules. When you get to know your writing better, and when you have built your writing skills and style, only then turn them off, if you can prove you know your writing inside out. I can’t see myself turning off my writing checkers for some time yet.
Online writing checkers can also be useful. Use them. They will help, and most are free. I use EditMinion, which picks up things that Word can’t.
The second step is to get an editor. No writer can pick out, see, or decipher his or her writing problems. My writing now reads clearer and my words more effective, since I took on an editor. A good editor will turn your writing (and possibly your life) around. A dedicated editor will push you along the path to becoming a read and sought-after writer.
Don’t let your unique and interesting stories go to waste through bad editing. If you’ve devoted your life to writing, as I have, you will increase your chances of making your writing loved and admired if you begin by self-editing, then get another to read your work, only then, send it to an editor.
Remember, words are all we have. Your readers can’t read your mind.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net