Every now and then, we all have those unfortunate “What was I thinking?” moments. Mine usually come when looking at photographs of myself from the ’80s when I rocked a hairstyle called “the flower.”
Unlike a bad hairstyle that eventually grows out, a poorly produced book can haunt you for the rest of your author life. Today we’re going to talk about common mistakes indie publishers make, so you never have a “What was I thinking?” moment again … well, at least in terms of your books.
1. Serve a half-baked story.
As an indie, you don’t have an agent who tells it like it is or an editorial team poring over your manuscript hunting for problems and mistakes. These responsibilities lie with you. Don’t let the excitement of publication blind you to potential quality issues. Being independent doesn’t mean you to have to go it alone. Create your own editorial team to provide feedback throughout the writing and editing process. This group might include a writing partner, critique group, beta readers, and/or a developmental editor who can help you identify and fix story problems long before your book reaches readers.
2. Skip proofing.
There’s no better way to irritate readers and embarrass yourself than to publish a book full of typos. This is often the result when we try to edit our own work. Our brains are wired to know what we meant to say, so they automatically correct typos and fix errors, allowing us to gloss right over them. Hiring a professional proofreader should be a standard best practice before going to press. Proofreaders not only offer a fresh set of eyes for catching errors but also are masterful at tightening clunky sentences and putting the final polish on your prose. Skipping this step might save you money, but it can end up costing you far more in reputation.