Do Self-Publish, DO NOT Self-Edit

Read the following two sentences:
When my dad’s Audi turns onto the drive, my stomach instantly begins to churn with a year’s worth of anticipation …
When my dad’s Audi turns onto the drive, my stomach instantly beings to churn with a year’s worth of anticipation …
Did you catch the difference?  If not, re-read.  And if you did, then your eyes and brain have a superior relationship that a number of other’s brains and eyes do not.
The difference (you should have seen it by now – is begins vs. beings) is an easy word exchange to glance over; even for the trained eye of an editor.  And it’s one of the errors that still exist in my book – pg. 20, top paragraph for those of you that have it.  There are others.  Minor exchanges if you would.  Nothing, I have been assured, that takes away from the integrity of the story as most eyes will read right over the few errors that exist.
I have read some general commentary about self-publishing errors and while there are some that think the mistakes make the book “cute”, I completely disagree.  I think it makes it sloppy and shows a lack of care for the final work that is produced.  Even though the errors in my book are far from erroneous, still I am mortified by their existence.  (Given, there are some indie books out there that have so many heinous errors that the authors should be sent back to fifth grade – there vs. their, whose vs. who’s, it’s vs. its, weather vs. whether, and my personal favorite: use to vs. used).
So what’s an independent author with a budget supposed to do about the editing game? The answer is different for everyone … but one thing is for certain, you can NOT self-edit your own work and having a few friends read your novel is not the same as line editing.  Line by line examination is not an easy task and it is not something that can be done by someone who is also “reading the story”.  It takes a trained editor, one that isn’t vested in your success, to do the job correctly.  And in my humble opinion, if you can heed that lesson you will put a better work out there for your readers.
EDIT, EDIT, EDIT … and then edit again!!
Thoughts?  Did you catch the begins vs. beings??
Oh, and BTW, you can rest assured (or at least I can) that the errors in The Caretakers, are being fixed and Amazon and Barnes and Noble should have the latest and greatest edition available by mid-September.

17 comments

  1. I'm in the process of writing a book myself (and just handed a draft over to a friend for editing) so this was very timely advice!
    Following you back now from scathingweekly.blogspot.com

  2. Good advice. They used to call me Eagle Eye at work and yes, I spotted the difference the second time I read the two sentences. Just goes to show, spell-check alone isn't enough.

    And thanks for finding me and the follow. I checked and I'm already following you.

    Happy Friday!

  3. Awesome article and I completely agree. Even if it's just friends and family reading it, you have to have someone else edit. There are some mistakes you will never catch simply because you wrote it.

    P.S. I noticed the difference in the two sentences. Woohoo! lol

    ♥ Sarah @ I'm Loving Books

  4. I do a ton of copy editing, and it's crazy how something so little can be missed. I think your eyes just fill in the words that are supposed to There. I read about some study that says you only need the first and last letter to be right and your mind will fill in the rest. Kind of random.

  5. You are so right about self-edit. We fail to see the errors of of own writing even when we read them a thousand times but it's so easy to spot someone else's. I think it has something to do with our eyes seeing what our minds want to see! Makes sense?!!

    New follower!

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