How Many Misteaks Can You Find?

Put on your spectacles and see if you can find all the errors in this ridiculous story! I have been keeping track of boo-boos as I read, and these were found in various eBooks and news reports. Some are garden variety errors, while others are truly cringe worthy. One thing is certain – if we don’t catch them our readers will. Have Fun!

It Never Seizes to Amaze Me

Darlene was passed indigent, woken up by the careless made careering around her room. The smelt of her breakfast tray repealed her, and she was weary of what the new cook might have sent up from the dinning room. The variating menu made her shutter as she took a cautious peak under the domed plate. She was conscience of the made watching her, champing at the bit to return to the safety of the kitchen. Trying a different tact, Darlene ignored the oppressing meal, righting it off as a lost cause.

“You may buddle up this mess ay ess ay pee and throw it in the wooden stove! If this is the cook’s idea of an aspirational meal, she is the hugest dumbie I have ever known.”

The abstracted made span around and left the room, closing the door. Her absents gave Darlene a chance to distress and consider her boaring life. Yes, her boardem grew huger every day, scaring her sole. She got up and glanced out the window at the rot iron fence around there small front yard. The eradicate heartbeat which kept her in this room made it difficult for her to gleam slithers of information about the outside world.

The few tit-bits she heard edged her on to escape the homely atmosphere, and she shunned upon the selfness of her family as they left her alone day after day. Her room was filled with interesting bobbles, but she dreamed of a latter to climb down from her perch or ascend through the crowds. But it was no use, as her feet were made of led and she was entirely too plaint. She would never be able to sew her wild oats in Silicone Valley, hunt a wildebeest, buy a cumber bun, or order something eatable from a resterant. What an opressing life!

(Hint – there at least 56 misspellings, incorrect usages, or non-existent words. How many did you find?)

Manuscript Editing for Self-published Authors

I am not the only self-published author who has to edit his own manuscripts, but it’s one of those absolutely necessary tasks if I want my work to be taken seriously. It’s time consuming (meaning less time to write) and almost as interesting as watching paint dry. With the correct mind-set, which I will mention later, the task becomes much less onerous

One of the blessings/curses of doing it myself is not incurring the expense of a professional editor. I addition, I never have to spend time explaining or justifying my word choices to a stranger. So, since the buck stops with me, I need to produce the cleanest manuscript possible. How do I do that?

I have learned some tricks in the last few months to make the task a bit easier and take less time:

  • I use MS Word, and turn on the spell check and grammar check. I make corrections as I go while the text is fresh in my mind. I may not agree with all the suggested changes, so I override the ones I wish to keep.
  • After finishing each chapter, I use the “search” function in Word to look for all my crutch words, and eliminate as many of them as possible. For me, this includes the blasted apostrophe – there are many mistakes caused by the misuse of the darn thing!
  • I  remind my beta readers to look for ANY flaws, no matter how minor.
  • When I have made all the beta reader corrections, I set the manuscript aside for a day or two.
  • The last step is a final read-through, from start to finish. It’s amazing how many more errors I find! Thankfully, I also discover better word choices and phrases which improve the readability of the book.

The hard truth is this – it is almost impossible to catch every single spelling or grammatical error. The goal is to release my book with as few as possible, and then continue making corrections as they are brought to my attention. (Yes, I read my reviews, and I recommend every self-published author do the same. They often contain valuable feedback I would not learn any other way.)

After the book is released, I purchase a copy and read the book again on my kindle. Inevitably, I find things which need to be changed. This is a good thing because it gives me the opportunity for continuous improvement (obviously, this works best for eBooks).

I had to learn that I am not simply selling a book, but I am promoting my brand – ME! It’s my job to make sure the product is polished and ready for the public to enjoy. This is where the mind-set I mentioned earlier comes in. I want my readers to have the best experience possible every time they read one of my books. Even if they don’t happen to like the story for some reason, I should never knowingly sell them an inferior product. Another term for this is CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Readers are generally not interested in how many hours of work are involved in producing a great book, but they certainly DO care if they pay for one riddled with errors. Bad reviews are difficult to overcome, so it’s better to prevent them in the first place.

I only have one chance to make a good impression (which of course includes the cover image and description), so I want to avoid disappointing my readers. I cannot force them to enjoy the story, but I can certainly package it correctly. After that, it’s up to the individual reader, and unless you have  working crystal ball, there’s no way to predict how people will respond. Maybe I will talk about that in a future post!

 

It’s official now

As of this afternoon I am a published author! Since this is National Book Lovers Day, it seems appropriate to be making my own personal contribution. I never really considered the possibility until about 18 months ago, but it still feels great to have come so far so fast. What excites me the most is the potential interaction with my readers as we discuss the plot and characters of my books together.

In future posts I want to discuss my books one at a time, providing some personal insight and background. Meanwhile, there’s work to do and I have new books to write!

On their way

After months of anticipation, my books will arrive at your favorite retailer within the next couple of days. Strange as it may seem, excitement is only one of the things I am feeling right now – the other is a bit of anxiety. Most of that stems from my lack of marketing knowledge and computer ability. Writing the book  is only about 10% of self publishing; the rest is marketing and sales. As I understand it, this is the Achilles heel of most new business ventures and the primary reason they fail.

What this means for me is a commitment to the long term, and continuous learning and growth. Little by little I will get the hang of it and make incremental changes which will help me grow my share of the market. Practically speaking, I am not expecting to see enormous sales figures or wild throngs of fans waiting with bated breath for my next book (might be nice though). For some authors it takes a couple of years for their work to be noticed, and I am expecting the same. Meanwhile, I will keep writing and adding to my collection of great reads. If you are reading this post, and happen to be one of my earliest of fans, I say WELCOME! I am very excited to have you along for the ride, and hope you enjoy my stories as much as I do.

Now I understand

When I started on the path to self-publishing, I really had no idea how many different things I would have to learn to do for myself. In traditional publishing, the author relied on the publishing house to take care of all the details (and there are a lot of them) while they happily returned to doing what they wanted most to do – write.

I know it sounds like I am complaining, and I suppose I am in a way, but I don’t think the average reader has a clue how much is involved in publishing your own work. The process is daunting and frustrating, along with scary and time consuming. I’m quite sure there are other words I could use, but not in polite company! Will it all work out in the end – sure. Will it be worth it – yes. Is it for the feint of heart – no!