During the past several months, since the publication of my novel CHICAGO TIME I’ve been asked not just how I wrote it, but how I did it. That is: how did I publish the novel.
So this post is the first in a series about do-it-yourself (DIY) publishing (or self-publishing or indie publishing, however you prefer to call it) I’m calling “DIY Publishing 101.” Each installment will be posted on Friday during the weeks that follow.
This post concerns the very first thing you need to do once you have written your book.
Get Your Book Copy Edited
You might think that once you’ve spent months or years working on your book that you’ve found all the mistakes possible with spelling, capitalization, grammar, consistency, style, and usage in your manuscript. Especially with the help of your word processor’s spelling and grammar check.
You would be wrong to think that.
Word processors are good with spelling depending on the comprehensiveness of their dictionaries. Word processors are not good with the differences between words, such as who’s and whose, or insure and ensure.
As the writer, we often can’t see our own mistakes. After having gone over the text hundreds of times, we see past them. We know what we mean and what we intended. Because of that we form what you might call “intention blindspots,” so we are unable to see the mistakes.
Because of the unreliability of word processors and ourselves, it is very important to have someone else copy edit your manuscript. A professional to look at your manuscript without your intentions.
Luckily for me, I happen to have a friend who has done a ton of copy editing. It’s what he does for a living. He agreed to edit the book for me. As a bonus, he also ended up giving me some excellent feedback that helped make my novel CHICAGO TIME a much better book. (I thanked him for all of that in the Acknowledgments.)
There are plenty of skilled people out there who can copy edit your manuscript. They will fix grammatical mistakes, point out inconsistencies in style and usage, spelling errors, etc. They will clean your manuscript, creating a smooth reading experience for readers. You don’t want your readers to pay money for your book only to get annoyed as they read.
You don’t want readers to stop reading and count the mistakes.
You want them to sit back and enjoy the story.