Have you noticed the plethora of blogs recently chattering about the “importance of editing”? Must be the season! Probably because spring is almost here and we authors are about to “spring” our winter ramblings on publishers.
But I do think it’s a critical topic, so I’m going to add my two cents to the discussion.
I’m about to place my first novel on Amazon’s Kindle platform. (Look for The Oath, by Dennis Koller – I know. I know. A blatant marketing ploy. I just couldn’t help myself.) There has been so much to think about these last few days before it goes live; one being “reviews”. I have a few already in hand, so I went to Amazon last night to check out the way they work; i.e., what’s expected, how many to have, etc.
While rummaging around, I came across any number of reviews that were not at all kind. What a downer, I thought, for someone to get a scathing review (the two-edged sword of the reviewing process, I know), but it’s even worse when the reviewers liked the story, but because of the typos and bad sentence structure, couldn’t give the work a good rating.
I thought it would be instructive to share some of those reviews with you, thinking that they could be used as both a warning and an incentive to get your book proofread; preferably by someone who actually knew what they were doing.
The following “reviews” all came from mystery/thriller novels in the first 30 pages (of the 400 mystery/thriller pages) on Kindle.
“I liked the premise, but to be honest, there is much work that needs to be done in terms of editing; especially with the confusing sentences that I often had to re-read to understand.”
“A good read but needs some fine tuning.”
“With a little bit of editing to eliminate the errors such as typos and missing words, the flow would have been much more enjoyable.”
“I’m one who demands perfection in the books I read, and grimace when I see errors. If this novel had good editing, it would be an exceptional read because the author definitely has talent.”
Damn! Realizing that devastating reviews of this type could wreak havoc on our books’ sales, I thought maybe we should all start swapping the names of good editors we’ve dealt with or know about. If you have any names of editors to submit, list them here for all to see (with their permission, of course).
I understand that not all of us can afford to hire a professional editor, but to keep from receiving “reviews” like the above, you have to get someone who is a giant step up from Aunt Sally (unless, of course, your Aunt Sally is someone like Edgar Award finalist Sally Wright or best selling author Sally Berneathy).
From my own experience, if you are going to ask non-professionals to edit your work, it is critical to get someone who at least enjoys reading your genre. If they don’t, you’ll find they will keep it for a long time and then return it saying they haven’t got the time. That happened to me with my new book The Oath (which, have I mentioned, is going live as an eBook on Amazon Kindle early next week?). The first two friends, who said they would be happy to edit the book, wasted a lot of my time (and I’m sure theirs) before giving it back to me with the apology that mysteries just weren’t their thing.
If anyone has other ideas on this utterly fascinating topic, please post your comments below. And if you want to be notified about The Oath and when it appears on Kindle, be sure to Follow my blog by leaving your email address on the left.
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