Indie Authors: Self-Editing Before Getting Your Manuscript Edited

By Phoebe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Phoebe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Editing is an important step to publishing, both indie and traditional. A book that is poorly edited can be a big turn off to readers. Bridget McKenna gives an example in her post, “Why I Didn’t Keep Reading Your Book, Part 2“:

Your opening sentence demonstrated that you don’t know the difference between “number,” which is used to describe things that can be counted, such as fenceposts and birds, and “amount,” which is used to describe something functionally impossible to count, like water or sand. So “a large amount of birds” flapping around the very first line of your book didn’t fill me with a sense of promise for your writing or a lot of respect for your editor. I’ll never know whether you told a good story—what I found in the few pages convinced me you couldn’t write well enough for the quality of the story to make a difference to me.

Steamfeed has a list of grammar mistakes to watch out for, so as to keep your readers happy. Examples include it’s v. its, affect and effect, and quotation marks. Continue reading

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Indie Authors: Editing Tips to Attract Readers and Save Money

By Digital-Designs (Red Pen, Yellow Pen....) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Digital-Designs (Red Pen, Yellow Pen….) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

No first draft is perfect. That’s why editing is such an important step in the writing and publishing process.

There are a few types of editing:

  • Developmental editing
  • Line editing
  • Proofreading

In a nutshell, developmental editing looks at the big picture of a story, and makes sure the tone is consistent and things make sense. Line editing is more granular, and looks at improving sentences and paragraphs. And proofreading is the last step, making sure everything is grammatically correct.

IngramSpark has an article with nine common questions and answers about editing, if you’d like to read more. Some things to keep in mind are that you, as the author, do not need to blindly accept whatever changes an editor recommends, editors specialize in genres so you want to work with editors who have worked in your genre, and using a style guide is important.

There are a lot of things that indie authors can do on their own, but editing should not be one of them. That said, most of my budget for my self-published books goes to editors, and it can be on the expensive side. To help save some money upfront, it’s good to go through a few rounds of revisions, by either going through a checklist yourself, or asking for feedback from beta readers, or both.

If you’re looking for some help in this area, it may be worth considering joining an author collective or co-op. According to Jane Friedman, “Typically, author collectives are groups of writers who meet for the purposes of workshops, education, and networking. Some require members to pay yearly fees, and some, like the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, have a board that arranges events and provides services to the community.” The article goes on to recommend author collectives and give tips on how to start your own.

If you want to try doing a round of edits yourself first, BookBub offers a list of 12 editing mistakes that authors often make, which can be a good starting point. The first thing is the common adage, “Show, don’t tell.” However, also keep in mind that you don’t want to over describe things to slow down the pace. Also make sure you have believable conflicts, a consistent point of view, and good grammer.

On that note, HubSpot has a list of 10 edits that will improve your writing. A lot of the tips apply more to copywriters, but copywriting is important for indie authors too (think book blurbs). Tips include, making sure your benefits stand out (great for non-fiction books), using active voice, removing adverbs, and keeping paragraphs short. Most of these tips can apply to creative writers as well.

Last, many authors write informative blogs where they share their writing process and other helpful tips. Writer’s Write has a list of their favorite author blogs, as well as group blogs, blog directories, and other blog resources.

Happy writing and editing!

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared June 2016.

Guest Post: 6 Questions (and Answers!) about Editing Contracts You’ll Want to Know

Editor’s note: For more information on what to include in an editing contract, see Megan’s “8 Must-Haves for Freelance Editing Contracts.”

By Megan Harris

If your book is complete, or in the process of being completed, you may start to think about the next steps involving your book–namely, hiring an editor to help you polish your work. Before you send your manuscript off to the cutting room floor, however, it’s important to provide parameters for your project and sign a contract.

Here are some of the most common questions writers who have never hired an editor ask, and some answers to help you along the way! Continue reading

Guest Post: One Author’s Experience Creating Children’s Read Aloud Ebooks

By David Hoobler

David Hoobler is both the author and illustrator of the Zonk the Dreaming Tortoise series. In the post below he shares his experience creating read aloud ebook versions of his children’s books.

Recording studios and mixing boards meant nothing to me a year ago. To me these are the realm of Rock and Rollers and Super Stars. That was then, before I decided to record my books. Is book narration a DIY proposal? It’s not that easy, in fact it’s very hard work. Continue reading

Guest Post: Where to Find the Best New Authors; 5 Online Writing Communities To Explore

By Allison Phillips

The environment is changing for authors. What once was thought to be a solitary pursuit is evolving into an interactive process with the introduction of new technology. As we move from the printed page to the screen, it invites readers and writers to engage and share the experience through online writing communities. Writers now have access to networks that offer critique, feedback, and support to one another. This collaborative approach helps to beat writer’s block, get inspired, and obtain a fresh perspective.

Take the bestselling novel 50 Shades of Grey, fan fiction based on Twilight, and written in progress on a public fan-fiction website; it gathered fans and feedback over time before being formally published.

While online writing communities benefit writers by giving them the freedom to share their work, it benefits readers by allowing them to uncover a whole new world of storytellers. No longer are readers restricted to the bookstore in search of something captivating but can now visit a site to explore new writing styles, working plots and engage with a potential bestseller.

Here are some writing communities that readers can explore: Continue reading

Infographic: 109 Facts and Stats About Reddit

Reddit is a site where people can share links and post comments. Topics are divided into subreddits, and users can also upvote or downvote posts, which can help make a post more or less visible. Jane Friedman has a great post on how authors can market their books on Reddit.

If you’d like to learn even more about Reddit and its potential for marketing, Websitebuilder has created a great infograph that covers pretty much everything you need to know:

Indie Authors: Tips for Filing Taxes

Photo by Ken Teegardin, www.SeniorLiving.Org, Flickr

Photo by Ken Teegardin, http://www.SeniorLiving.Org, Flickr

As an indie author, it’s important to think of yourself as a business. Taxes for 2016 are almost due, so here are some tips that can help you file.

The first step is to gather all tax-related documents. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • W2s
  • 1009s
  • Donations
  • Receipts
  • Student loans

Having all your documents in one place will make it easier to file, and you’re less likely to accidentally miss anything. You can use these documents to help you itemize your deductions. Continue reading

Growing Your Presence on Social Media

By Brian Solis and JESS3 [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Brian Solis and JESS3 [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Social media is great. You can connect with people easily, you can learn new things, and you can share awesome content. It’s also a lot of hard work, because you want to make sure you are posting high quality content that resonates with people, and it takes some effort to measure and tweak your strategy.

A lot of people advocate for figuring out who your audience is, finding the platform where they engage the most, and then focusing on that platform. Melyssa Griffin shares her thoughts on social media on her blog, which includes using video, humanizing your brand, and create quality content.

If you’re looking to create posts that will be widely shared, Moz breaks down what it takes for something to go viral. In a nutshell, you want content that is clickable, shareable, and playable, that taps into people’s sharing impulses, and that you can build a story around.

You should also make tweaks to your profiles on your social media accounts. Bluchic shares a few tips, including having keywords in your bio, using the right hashtags, and listing your business.

Here are some resources to help you grow your presence on social media. Continue reading

Guest Post: 7 Essentials of Ebook Publishing You Should Know

By Maximilian Schönherr (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Maximilian Schönherr (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The main facets that a writer should consider while creating an ebook

By Andrea Burke

Do you feel excited about writing, and that is your daily inspiration? Then you should try and write an ebook! It takes time and preparation, so in order to be prepared, here are some tricks that you should consider before writing a masterpiece that will wow every reader. Continue reading