So you’ve written your book. Congratulations on coming this far. All those hours of research, planning, plotting, jabbing away at that keyboard with a cold coffee at your side and it’s now over. But wait. What about editing? Have you edited it thoroughly or are you rushing to click publish?
There is so much competition out there. Hundreds of books are uploaded to Amazon every five minutes. Your book isn’t such a great achievement. In the past writing a book was an amazing accomplishment. Charles Dicken was a rare fella and in his day there wasn’t much competition and literacy levels were much lower. People were too busy grafting to have time in the evening to relax with pen and paper. But now it seems as if every Tom, Dick and Harry is writing a book.
In Iceland the figures are astounding. There are more writers per head of the population than anywhere else in the world. Maybe with the lack of daylight there’s not much else to do. Since the year 1400 book authorship has grown worldwide by tenfold a year. In the USA literary agents receive 5000 manuscripts a year. These are just a few of the statistics I came across on the internet. It’s like winning the lottery. The odds are stacked against you of getting traditionally published which is why Amazon is littered with indie books. Except it’s not quite like a lottery. The lottery is random. You are in control and if you polish your book well you have a better chance.
With the odds stacked so heavily against you, you need to ask yourself and your friends is this a story people are really going to want to read? Using a manuscript evaluator can be a good idea. I used one when I wrote ‘The Catholic Woman’s Dying Wish’ and ‘Every Family Has One’ and she made lots of suggestions about restructuring the story, tightening the plot, cutting areas, adding to other areas. An evaluation cost me £250.
However once I had made the changes she suggested and made a further proofread I still needed to consult with an editor. Costs started to mount, as you can see. Proofreaders don’t come cheap. I have seen quotes ranging from £581 to £1500 for a 100k novel. I decided against it and kept editing and editing and editing until I thought it was perfect. One useful book is called ‘The First Five Pages’ by Noah Lukeman. I would also suggest you look at books and articles about common mistakes writers make. It was a huge learning curve for me. I have a degree in History and I was a secondary school teacher. I thought I had a good grasp of the English language. I was wrong. There were mistakes regarding dialogue and grammar. I made as many changes as I could, then hastily pressed publish. If you are in the same situation DON’T press that button. Stop. You must invest money in your book otherwise you’ve wasted your time. You need to employ a good professional proofreader/editor because there will be mistakes that you cannot see yourself.
I learned all of this when it was too late. I’d already clicked publish because I was too damn eager to get my book out there.It’s the worst thing you can do. My books are selling; 20 a week or more but then I got my first 1 star review and I was, naturally gutted. The review said ‘This was a great read but the editing was poor.’ I hunted for a proofreader and another author recommended someone. She was fantastic and I can’t praise her more highly. The price was very reasonable too.
I’m still selling books and getting great reviews but am working through my errors and will republish at some point. Unless your book is edited well, you will lose credibility as an author. Editing is the single most important part of writing providing your plot is good and it’s a book people want to read. I have come across some terrible mistakes made by other authors. The worse was mixing past and present tense in one paragraph and calling a chest of drawers a chester drawers!
Here are the links to my books which readers are enjoying and most will see beyond a few errors but I’m striving for excellence and so they will be error free within the next couple of months: