Proofreading, Editing, Critique
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Three Things You Shouldn't Do Yourself
Nobody is good at everything, and sometimes you need help to make your book the best it can be. It’s important to know your limits and to admit when it’s time to outsource things. We all have our gifts, and sometimes we need to tap into others to help us along the way. Here are three things you shouldn’t do yourself.
Editing and Proofreading. We get blind to our errors and nowhere is this more apparent than when you work on a novel. Each draft will improve, but eventually, you need somebody to tell you what you’ve missed. Spell check, grammar check, and Grammarly are awesome tools, but they don’t do everything. This is an area where the human touch is necessary. Edit your own work to the best of your ability, and then pass it on to a reviewer, beta reader, or proofreader to analyze it and let you know what works and what doesn’t from a reader's perspective. Don’t rely on family and friends for this. You need an unbiased perspective from somebody with skills and knowledge to identify deeper issues that your average reader will feel, but can’t articulate (for example, they’ll say it “feels distant” but can’t identify it as overuse of passive voice). Readers Favorite offers review, proofreading, and critique services at a reasonable rate. I urge you to take advantage of them or to hire somebody who can give your book an honest evaluation.
Be prepared for a hit to your ego when the feedback arrives. It’s humbling to find out that your “baby” isn’t as perfect as you thought it was, but it will be worth it. Give yourself a break to recover from your disappointment and process the suggestions, and then dive in with rewrites. The pain is worth it, and you’ll be pleased with the results.
Cover Art. People judge a book by its cover, and in this digital age, it must pop if you want to stand out against the competition. I use Vila Design, but you can find other cover artists through social media or online searches. Your book cover is the first impression people get of your work, so make sure it accurately conveys just how awesome your writing is.
I have bought stock images for my short stories, but these are reduced prices, support products released in seasonal sales, or to keep a new release out if I don’t have a book release for a while. For the big stuff, I hire it out.
Marketing. Reaching readers is about connections. This is where you should take advantage of the tools that the publishers offer (Amazon Ads, KDP Countdown Deals and Free Days, Smashwords sales, book reviews, etc), and social media. I’ve lost count of promotional opportunities I’ve found on Twitter through the #WritingCommunity and #AuthorsofTwitter hashtags. Bookmark KindlePreneur and search your favorite book retailers or the library for books and articles about utilizing keywords and promotion. Marketing is a constant effort, and you have to put as much (or more) into it than creating new works. Get social, get active, and get knowledgeable about the opportunities available. Simple social media posts won’t do it. Educate yourself, get involved, and get connected. Your muse, your characters, and your bank account will thank you.
Publishing and marketing a book requires a group effort, and I can’t stress enough the importance of educating yourself and building a great team. You can’t just write the book and expect it to take off without effort. It takes constant learning and help from your friends. Building a strong, dependable team is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your writing.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Sherri Fulmer Moorer