So last week, I talked about eating right, getting rest, meditating and exercising. I also mentioned the amazing number of books some writers have been able to put out, which tells me they look at their writing as a business. I think it may be a little easier to do this if you don’t have a full-time job, but even if you do, it can be done, but might take a little more time.
In keeping with my thrust at a higher level of productivity, I drafted the people in my workshop into a buddy system, which will keep us accountable. I listed my goals, which are to edit and publish the mss on my computer (six completed novels and eight in various stages of writing) and to promote my published works.
After that I wrote out the smaller tasks, focusing on one project. That one project is on the front, as one reader of Distraction asked when the sequel will be out. See how useful a Facebook fan page can be for your readers to connect with you? I’ve posted my goals for this week on my workshop forum and since then I’ve got some work done.
That said, let’s jump back to getting books out. From time to time I’ve downloaded free books I thought I’d enjoy. One thing I’ve noticed is that on some of them, reviewers complain that the books have grammatical and spelling errors. I’ve noticed that in a book I started reading this morning. It’s an interesting story, but I’m just out of the starting gate and I’ve hit homonym, tense and grammar issues. With a start like that, I'm not sure if I'll even continue with the story. Errors are one thing, but what concerns me most (and these aren’t even my books) is that the reviews on Amazon are a permanent record that says something about the quality of our work. It’s terrible when it’s undeserved and worse when we set ourselves up for it.
I know that people take books down, edit and put them up again, but I think it would be so much better to take the necessary time to get the book as clean as possible on the first go round. When I see reviews that speak to errors on a book that I’ve taken a chance on, and the book turns out to have been cleaned up, it still tells me that it was first put out there without being dressed up properly.
I know many writers simply can't afford to pay an editor, so if you're going to run the risk of self-editing, a MASSIVE AMOUNT OF TIME should be taken with the process. Worst case scenario - if using colleagues/friends/beta readers, make sure these are people know a thing or three about the English language and are decent writers.
Now, I’ve been blessed with a keen eye in terms of editing, so if there’s an error in a book, I’ll find it—not that I set out to do that. As writers know, we read as both readers and writers.
For those of you who do your own editing, I found an EXCELLENT editing tool a few months ago. It’s Editor, by Serenity Software. No, I’m not an affiliate or anything, but I think the software is so good, I bought it. Of course, I worked the heck out of the trial period before I did. I plan to use Editor as the final step in the editing process. It can be a bit exhausting to use as it covers various aspects of editing, but the results are worth the effort.
In my opinion, if writing is to be treated as a business, it’s important to have the right mix of tools that works for you. That said, outside of your human editor, what helps you most when fine-tuning and editing your stories?