You’ve already invested a good deal of time in writing your book and now you’re tentatively thinking about the next steps. It can be highly tempting to skip the next stage – of getting your book proofread and possibly edited – because you’ve written it, you’re happy with it, you’re keen to get on with the production phase, and above all you want to save money. But this would be a mistake.
Indeed you may even think you can do your own book proofreading, but again this would be a mistake – you are too close to what you have written, you can’t be objective, and you read what you expect to appear on the page, rather than what you have actually written.
Requiring your manuscript to be proofread isn’t something to be ashamed of. All good writers, even long established ones with many published books behind them, have their books proofed and edited.
Proofreading will pick up inconsistencies in your book – characters’ names, places, timeframes that have slipped etc – as well as the more basic typos and grammatical mistakes. An editor can also advise on the rhythm and structure of your book and ways to improve it, as well as making suggestions about chapter headings and even the title of your book (which these days needs to take into consideration both SEO and keyword searches).
One book that I worked on recently spanned a timeframe of about 80 years. The author did pretty well in keeping up with the ages of the main characters, which he referred to frequently, but on some occasions, because the drama shifted hemispheres, he got his seasons and time zones confused – particularly with flights arriving and departing from one side of the world to the other. The detail might not seem that important, but readers are discerning, and do pick up on these slips.
Readers have more choice than ever, books are available in a variety of formats and readers do not want to waste their time tackling a book full of mistakes. They will reject the book and any…