The Importance of Editing

First, a couple of quick updates: Restoration continues to attract new readers (yay!), and I continue to work my marketing plan. Someone in one of the Facebook writer’s groups I participate in said it best: Being a successful author is a marathon, not a sprint.

So far, I’ve sold 142 copies and given away 204. I’m happy with these numbers because it means that  I’ve progressed beyond close friends and family and have started to garner interest from complete strangers…an important first step!

Assuming current course and speed, the audiobook version of Restoration will be out sometime in mid to late November. I plan on doing a good bit of marketing in November and December let people know about this option.

My second novel, The Fourth World, is coming along nicely, but I am still a couple of weeks behind schedule. My wife and I are going on a ten-day vacation in November, and then comes Thanksgiving, so I am going to have to be especially diligent to not get further behind.

With regard to the title of this blog post: I just learned some valuable lessons about the editing process and how important it is to have beta readers. I went through a rigorous editing process before publishing Restoration, and I even paid a highly recommended professional editor to give it a final once-over. Even still, the book went to press with more errors than I would have preferred.

Most of them were minor punctuation and spelling errors, but I was shocked to see how many of them slipped through my process. “What was your process?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you!

Of course, I read the book…about two dozen times in fact, and in multiple formats (printed on paper, PDF on my laptop and Mobi on my Kindle Paperwhite). The problem with that was that I read it so many times I became blind to what should have been obvious errors. So, to combat that phenomenon, I purchased some editing software.

It identified a bunch of stuff and made some very good suggestions, but it had the annoying habit of suggesting corrections that I knew were wrong or didn’t reflect what I consider to be “realistic” speech between characters (it struggled at times with comma placement and dialogue).

Next, my wife and a couple of close friends read it…and they too had some great suggestions. But things still manage to slip through that gauntlet. So, I went back and re-read the book again, fixing errors as I went and hoping that my eyes would be open to anything else that had been missed.

After that was done I felt pretty good about the overall quality and decided to publish the book (fingers crossed!). Guess what…there were still errors. Thankfully, my father, being the loving, supportive parent that he is, bought a copy and dove in. The good news is that he loved the book and gave me a lot of positive feedback, but he also found several dozen errors that he was kind enough to type up and share with me. It probably helped that he is an English major, but I think that his critical eye and sincere interest in my success were the principle motivators behind his diligence.

The lesson I learned? Find as many people as possible like my father…people who not only have a good command of the English language (or whatever language you write in) but who also have a vested interest in your success. I wish the technologies in my book were real and I could clone my dad, but they’re not so I will have to improvise.

Please let me know if you would like to be a beta reader for future books, or if you have suggestions on how I can improve my editing process.

As always, thanks for reading!

Photo Credit: With Associates, The review part 1 via photopin (license)

 

Author: dcmcwhorter

Daniel C. McWhorter is the author of The Gaia Origin Series.