Author, please read this and NEVER EVER publish without professionally editing your book!!

When I first published Mean: A Psychological Thriller Novelette”, I was young and naïve. Okay, it was only four months ago, but when it comes to the publishing world, it’s more than fair to say I was like a child.

I’ve learned more than I could have imagined since June. With the help of several wonderful authors from the amazing Indie Community, I learned about editing, formatting, publishing, marketing, etc. Of course there’s a lot more to learn—learning is a never-ending job, thank God!—but I now know enough to get me started.

When I finished “Mean”, I hurried to publish, because I was too excited about the idea. I thought it was ready. I had asked a friend to look at it—he called himself an editor, so I believed in his powers…—and then went over it again myself. “Perfect,” I thought. Ha! Presumptuous little foul, Renata!! 😀

Well, the truth is, “Mean” was NOT ready. It had typos and grammar glitches. I, however, had no idea. Friends and strangers bought it. Then, I did a KDP Select Free Promo and hundreds of people downloaded it! I was happy and confident.

Then, I saw my first review. On Goodreads.

I remember that day clearly, a Sunday, when my fantasy world crumbled into pieces. Martha Bryce—who is now a dear friend, but who I wasn’t familiar with at the time—reviewed it as an excellent story, but in urge of an editor. Boy, was I devastated…

I opened my book again and saw what she was talking about. I was so embarrassed, I took it off Amazon and wrote to Martha, thanking her honesty and explaining I had taken it off and was hiring a new—serious—editor. She was the most amazing friend, helping me with edits, and re-reading the book once it was—really, this time—done. Then, she rewrote her review, and I finally republished “Mean”. Since then, the good reviews keep piling up, and I’m so absurdly grateful for that.

Martha Bryce became a friend and my beta-reader, and that’s why she was the first one to readMy Sore Hush-a-Byeand deserved so many words of gratitude on the Acknowledgments page.

The point is…I committed a terrible mistake, but life was easy on me about it. It could have been a disaster. I could be finished as a writer right then.

Thank God I had a good story, otherwise I’d still be crying. And “My Sore Hush-a-Bye” would never see the light of day, or would have to be published under a pen name.

I’m telling this story for two reasons.

  • First, to plead…no, to BEG authors: NEVER publish a book that has not been professionally edited!! Never ever!! It can ruin your career, and gives a bad reputation to all self-published writers..

And by ‘professionally’ I don’t mean ‘expensive’. There are good, affordable editors (I can recommend mine, just contact me if you want, okay?) or even ask a friend to help you (better than the one I described here in my tale 😀 Someone good, if you’re lucky enough to know anyone like that). Go to pred-ed.com, an amazing site where you can find good info before hiring someone. But most important of all: LEARN. You’ll never be able to know if your editor is doing a good job if you know squat about grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

  • The second reason is to prevent a future disaster. I understand that most people who download a free book nowadays, with the amount of free possibilities, will maybe not even read it, or will read it months after downloading… So, you see my point, right?

There are hundreds of people out there with a terribly edited version of my novelette on their Kindles. I asked Amazon twice to inform customers about my new, improved edition. I explained the changes in detail, but never heard back from them. Therefore, I decided to do it on my own.

So, if you have a copy of “Mean: A Psychological Thriller Novelette” bought or downloaded for free BEFORE JULY, 23rd, please, please, pretty please contact me before reading it, and I’ll replace your file with the improved edition ASAP. I’ll even send it in any format you prefer (Epub, Mobi, PDF, etc.). And I’ll apologize and thank you endlessly while doing it, be sure.

Summing it up: If you want to be a serious writer, take your time to make your book the best piece possible. Do not ask people to buy your book if it’s not exhaustively edited. Don’t treat your final readers as beta-readers—that’s not what they signed for when buying your book.

 **Be sure that I’ve learned my lesson. “My Sore Hush-a-Bye” is absolutely, completely, professionally edited. I’ve spent countless hours editinghunting mistakes like a bloodhound with rabbits, or a pig with truffles. I, my editor, and my beta-reader went through my novel time and again (and again, and again, and again…) correcting to guarantee that my readers will have the best work I can provide for their money and time. (Thanks in advance to you all, by the way! 🙂 )

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12 responses to “Author, please read this and NEVER EVER publish without professionally editing your book!!

  1. It’s lucky you had someone to explain the problems and pitfalls to you. But you were very brave and strong to admit your error and strive to correct it by withdrawing the book and doing it again. Well done for that !!
    I hope you go from strength to strength as a writer winning much acclaim and you’ll be able to pass on some of your knowledge to a new generation of writers to come.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, David.

      Yes, I was incredibly lucky! I believe that everything happens for a reason, and the reason here was for me to meet Martha. I’ll never be able to thank her enough! 🙂

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  3. Renata, I both agree and disagree with you. Let me explain. I am all for improving ourselves as writers, and certainly reducing typos and having good grammar in your book is a worthy goal. But if dozens of people like your book and buy it and write rave reviews, and then someone comes along who writes a review pointing to several flaws in the book: whose opinion has more weight? Should a book be “perfect” or is “acceptable” OK? If a book is not perfect but readers like it the way it is, why sweat it?

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I applaud what you did with regards to making your book better, and it is great you struck this friendship with the reviewer. I would have done exactly the same thing you did. But typos and grammar are tangible things that can be fixed and the book republished quickly. What if you had received more “abstract” criticism that called for essentially spending a huge amount of time rewriting the book to smithereens? Would you have done it?

    I have read many articles by people complaining about the bad quality of Indie books. Invariably when I dig deeper into what they think we should do, it translates into endless writing and rewriting and costs in excess of a thousand dollars in formatting, editing, and cover design. And all this for a book that may sell at $0.99! A lot of these people come from the traditional publishing establishment, and they invariably set the bar so high that few qualify.

    So I guess that what I am trying to say is that we need a balance between “acceptable” and “perfect.” I know you did not frame your post in these terms, but your enthusiastic endorsement of the “never publish a book without professional editing” tagline made me feel I had to leave a comment. Real professional editing (not just typos and grammar but line editing) is very expensive.

    • Hi Rolando,

      Thanks for commenting and mentioning my post on Twitter.
      I guess I’ll both agree and disagree with you too, 🙂 The thing is that, for me, a book should be perfect, not acceptable.

      By that I mean that if you’re putting a product out there, asking people to spend money to get it — even if only $0.99 — it’s your duty to make it perfect.

      I’m a perfectionist, and I suffer when I see an error in a book — any book, not just mine.

      The fact that the files are easily correctable doesn’t solve the problem of the people that already bought the incorrect version. And I insist that it doesn’t necessarily will cost a fortune. But even if it does (I spent a lot of money to make ‘My Sore Hush-a-Bye’ as flawless as possible) it’s worth every penny.

      Where I agree with you is that not all criticism should make an author rush to rewrite his/her book. If a reviewer doesn’t like your plot, think your character should do something different, or simply think your ending sucks, it’s not really a problem. I’ve just received my first 2-star review, and although the reviewer says she didn’t like the book and struggled to finish it, she also stated that it was well written, so I’m happy with that review.

      My point is, you may not like my stories, that’s fine. But I’ll try my best, even if it costs me money and time (loads of both) to make you not hate my writing at least. 😉

      Thanks again. Hope to see you around again!

  4. My story is very similar. I was also fortunate that a fellow author who I had got to know got me to talk to her editor a couple of years ago. She took my books and edited them and it makes such a difference. Not just a matter of grammar but also contunity, points of view and so many other issues.

    • Thanks for commenting, Richard.

      It’s really reassuring to have an extra pair of eyes (at least) to help and guide us with our stories, isn’t it? A good editor can make a story shine! 🙂

  5. Hi Renata,

    Thanks so much for sharing this post and for taking a stand in regards to your writing. I’m an avid speed reader, usually reading about a story a day and I cannot even begin to tell you how many stories I’ve read in the last two weeks that have been such a disappointment to me. Some of the authors I know personally and others I’ve only recently met. Either way, I had such high hopes of falling in love with their work and was sorely disappointed when I was met with bad writing, even more so when the work was book two or three in a series. Errors happen, I understand that but when it is page after page of bad grammar, spelling and sentence structure you begin to question the author’s ability. I’ve not yet read your book but I’m pleased to know that you took the time to give it your best effort and for that I’m thrilled. It means you care and that speaks volumes. It also sets an example for others to follow. Thanks, Renata! All the best!

    • Hi Kim,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It really means a lot to me.
      If I can help at least one new author to present his or her best work and not have to learn the hard way as I did it will make me extremely happy.

      I understand the urge to publish, but we need to hold or horses and only deliver our best. Otherwise, readers will have the same bad experiences you (and I, lots of times) had. As you said, errors happen, even in traditionally published books, and we can read through them here and there, but trying to sell a book full of mistakes is amateurish and doesn’t do anyone any good. I truly believe we can –and should– do better than that.

      All the best to you too!

  6. Great post and thank you so much for sharing your experience – very brave and kind! I’m always sad when I find typos in a good book – in this digital age of self-publishing, it’s too say to rush into the final stages without a proper proofread or copy edit. I’ve devoted a whole chapter of my book promotion handbook, “Sell Your Books!” to imploring authors to guard against it – the chapter’s called “Don’t Start From Here!” Will retweet your excellent post now. Good luck with your books!
    Best wishes
    Debbie

    • Thank you so much, Debbie, for commenting and spreading the word about my post.

      I truly hope authors start to see how counterproductive it is to rush and publish a not edited story. As I said before, the fact that it’s easy to update your file can’t be an excuse, because every reader deserves to receive a final, polished book.

      I hope this post, and your book help authors to avoid this. Don’t rush,take your time. Make your story shine…then you publish

      Wish you the best of luck with your (very relevant) book. Sent from my Windows Phone

  7. Pingback: The long and winding road | IAG

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