So just yesterday I received a very kind, very sweet email from a fan telling me she loved Dying for a Living (wait for it--)
She had found a “few” typos. She was also sweet enough to pass along these errors so that I can make changes to the book file and upload it. (That’s one great thing about KDP—instant edits!) I would love to say this is the first time that I’ve received such an email, but sadly, that is not the case. I’ve received a few from different people, pointing out different things.
Because not everyone can see everything.
Not even publishing houses rely on ONE person to do the editing for an entire book. Because like the author who has read/reread/rerereread the book so many times that all the words are the same, every brain has the ability to perform its own “autocorrect”.
So what to do if you are 1) self-published and 2) too poor to hire an editor?
Here are some options:
Get a writer’s group
My writer’s group The Four Horsemen of the Bookocalypse are great at helping me develop content as well as catching nonsense on the sentence level. And it cost nothing to have a writer’s group, except time. So I highly encourage you to seek out other writers to support you and help you grow.
Get beta readers
I have a few friends who are writers themselves or at least good readers who can spot errors. They cost nothing and are an absolutely valuable part of the writing process.
Enlist the help of your early reviewers
As with my first book, I sent out my book to early reviewers. Many of them were kind enough to point out errors as they read, which led to me being able to make editorial changes before the book was actually published. And while your reviewers are bound to being fair and giving you an honest review, there is no rule that says they can’t point out a typo or tense shift. At least, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Be humble enough to accept the criticism gracefully—even after the book is published
Even after your writer’s group, beta readers, and reviewers, your book is likely to be published with a few minor errors. It happens! Sometimes new errors get written in as changes are made. Or sometimes it is an editorial glitch that most people just won’t notice—but someone will because different flaws irk different people. So when that—kind but inevitable—email rolls in, accept it with grace and gratitude. Someone was nice enough to give you a heads up and though you may be embarrassed, you should also be appreciative.
Consider other cost effective options
Here are a few resources you may want to consider:
Writer’sDigest article on editing
GrammarGirl Editing Checklist
eHow—Get yourbook edited for free
Top Tips from Indie Writers