A Huge Indie Author Problem

posted in: Various Musings | 0

Before indie publishing, we authors had to go through the “gatekeepers” to get published—either by appealing to an editor him or herself or to snag an agent and have them do the pitching for us. We were at the mercy of other people (sometimes lots of them) to even have a chance.

Nowadays, we can publish on our own. Some folks hire all the work out (formatting, editing, designing, marketing) and others do a lot of it on their own. Whatever the case, the gatekeepers are (mostly) gone and I don’t see that ever changing again. I love that. After years of having moderate publishing success the traditional way, I now have readers—and I can write and publish as often as I like.

I take this business seriously. I strive to deliver a quality product from the cover to the last page. My first year of publishing (Spring 2011-Spring 2012) involved a lot of learning. Some of my covers were amateur-looking and my marketing was nil. Interior formatting improved on a weekly basis. But I continued writing while learning what I needed to know.

One thing that was always above par, though, and still is: the editing. See, I’m an English nerd. Not only have I taught writing classes off and on for over ten years, I have three degrees in English. I take it very seriously. But I also know that even major publishing houses make booboos. It happens. I can forgive the occasional mistake, and I’m lenient about some of the “rules,” provided a book has its own internal consistency. And, knowing that even the pickiest grammarian can miss things, I have others pick over my books before publication too, just to make sure they’re as clean as possible. A couple of my faithful readers have gushed that it’s just another reason why they love reading my books. When I read an indie book that hasn’t been edited as well as it could have been, I find myself distracted. I think it’s the teacher in me. I want to correct the problems I see.

I don’t want to do that to you. I want you to get lost in the story I’m telling—and one of the best ways I can think of to do that is by letting you just read. Misspellings and errant grammar or erroneous word choices will not slow you down.

The good thing about indie publishing is knowing that you get to read books that, say, a decade ago you wouldn’t have had a chance to. The better news is that some of us want to make sure you don’t know the difference between our books and those from big publishing houses—and I will try keeping it that way!

What about you? How does editing affect the way you feel about a book?

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