I know every author edits their own book, some send it out to be edited professionally, but what happens if you bypass that stage? With the rise of eBooks and the ease in which you can self publish, I’m sure there are plenty of self published authors who have been the only person to have edited their book. And I am no exception. Regular readers of the column will know that I’m committing a slight heresy. I’m publishing an eBook in February and I’m not having it professionally edited.
I honestly think I have done the best job I could to edit my own book. I think in an ideal world where money wasn’t an issue, and if I had an editor I trusted, I would have had my book professionally edited. But I haven’t which has meant I have read my book, listened to my book, and edited my book more times than I care to think about. I’m not planning to self publish every book I write, my next one I’m going to submit in the hope of going down the traditional publishing route (again in an ideal world!).
I’ve learnt some brilliant lessons in the editing crash course I’ve put myself on over the last few months. I thought I’d share with you some of ‘wot I learnt’.
Millie and the American Wedding (as it is now called) started out life as a podcast novel. Which meant I wrote a chapter, edited it, recorded it, edited the audio, listened to it (twice) then put it online. So when I came to edit it for an eBook I wasn’t completely starting from scratch. I re listened to my audio (which was cringey to say the least) and edited my word document as I read along with it. Listening to book was brilliant. Ok, so like most normal people I hate listening to myself talk out loud, but boy can you pick up awkward phrasing and run on sentences. Bubblecow (who are a great source of info on how to edit) have mentioned a programme in many of their posts called TextAloud which reads your text for you. Hurrah – no more cringing at what you actually sound like.
After that edit, I printed, I read, I annotated the 146 pages and I re-edited. And then I thought I was done. I started uploading it on Amazon’s KDP site and then I hit kindle preview. And oh my. Have you ever read a book and the mistakes have jumped off a page at you? Well that was exactly what happened to me. It was so bad, they were practically waving off the page at me. Going from a word processing screen to having my words in kindle preview changed everything. I felt as if I were reading someone else’s book.
So, this is my pearl of wisdom for you whether you’re self publishing or just submitting to an agent.
Preview your book as an eBook, download mobipocketcreator (it is free). It will turn your word document into an eBook format. You can then download kindle previewer (again it’s free) and then read your work on it. Not only does it make it much easier to spot your mistakes, but it allows you, even for a brief moment, to imagine you’re a reader of your own book.
I’m not professing to say that this will solve all your editing needs, but if it helps you to see the old extra space, wrongly inverted speech mark or howler of a typo, then surely its worth a go.