Thursday, April 26, 2012

Indie Authors Don't Edit

This is a common thing to hear when people say they won't read self-published books. Traditionally published authors tend to say it the most and the loudest, usually when they are defending their traditional contracts.

Is there some truth to it? Sure. But it's easy to find and avoid them. Just read the reviews on Amazon. Readers are quick to point out books that needed the help of an editor.

So where can an Indie author get editorial help? And how much will it cost? Let me use myself as an example.

Haunted Vampire went through the following process. When I finished the first draft, I let it sit for a couple of weeks before giving it a read-through (on paper), pencil in hand. Then I gave it to a couple of beta readers who gave me excellent feedback. One of my readers said he liked the book but it lacked dramatic tension. I went back and did a thorough rewrite to address that.

Then I sent it to an online critique group for feedback. About ten people responded, with various comments. I incorporated the comments in another rewrite.

Then I had it professionally line-edited.

How much did it cost me? Actually nothing in dollar terms. The beta reading and critique group were free (although I had to critique in return to "pay" for the group's services). The line-editing was a barter service, so that didn't cost me any money either.

See, it doesn't have to cost a lot to get good editorial guidance. The critiques in return did take some time, but it actually helped me as a writer. Nothing teaches you your craft faster than critiquing others.

The next book is going through a similar process. I've done the beta readers and critique group, and now I'm working with all the comments. My rewrite this time is less intense because it's a better story than the first one, and I learned a lot through writing and editing Haunted Vampire.

If you're thinking about self-publishing your own book, don't think you can't turn out a polished product without spending a fortune. You can!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Technology of Being a Writer

Editing on Werewolf Puppy is going well, thanks to my Nook Color tablet. I've been out and about so much lately that taking it with me on the go is the only way to be sure it gets worked on.

My tablet doesn't handle the entire manuscript well, so I've broken it into parts, and take the current part with me. Syncing the file through Dropbox means I always have the most current version with me, no matter if I'm on iPhone, tablet or netbook.

It's not a perfect solution. One of my beta readers practically wrote a book's worth of comments, and I need to go through those while I'm editing. Android isn't good at quickly switching between documents, so I've been viewing her comments on my iPhone while editing on the Nook. It also works best if I have a WiFi connection when I'm working, so I can sync updates right away, but that isn't a deal breaker, as long as I remember to update the version on my tablet before I leave the house. (Guess what I forgot to do yesterday? It should have been okay, but Cosi's WiFi was down. Oh well. I downloaded it to my phone and worked on it there.)

As far as editing on the small screen, it works for me. I'm actually finding it easier to focus and find things  to fix. I've become a big believer in viewing the manuscript in different media. What I miss in one, I'll catch in another. Like a typo yesterday that I missed in the printed version and on my netbook screen. I finally caught it on the iPhone.

The more I use technology for writing, the more I marvel that authors like Dickens managed to write and edit at all!