How many books have I read that send me into a spin because I find many errors? I have lost count!!
A couple of stories – one is about a lady who wrote a mystery and managed to get a lot of publicity in a local newspaper, so our Writers Group invited her to speak one afternoon. We made a big event of it and she brought the publisher along too. I did the catering but listened to her. She spoke of her writing journey and that the first print of her book had many errors, so she redid it. The publisher was one that did not edit or proofread unless you paid a lot of money for the service and as she had friends and family read it, she was satisfied with the second print run. I didn’t have the cash on me (I had paid for the catering – which I was to be reimbursed for later), so she gave me a copy and asked me to pay for it later, which I thought was a good idea.
A day or two later I started reading it – and for the first time in my life I used a lead pencil to mark the errors and there were many. I thought I had been given a book from the first print run, so phoned her. She was not amused!!! There were no errors!!! I sent her an email with details of some of the errors – one was a skeleton that showed signs of a muscle spasm, a doctor whose name was spelled three different ways, and lots of other errors. She was still not amused!!! She told me to “burn the book”!
Another was a friend who announced at a Writing Group meeting that she has put her book on Amazon. I bought the Kindle version and within a few pages I was aghast. The story was good, but it was riddled with errors. I phoned her and arranged to visit. She showed me her computer and her m/s. It was in Word, so I ran a spell check!! With her sitting beside me, watching – it was a shock to her. She had run spell check, but I suspect did not save it. Hence, she withdrew it from Amazon and was working on it. I don’t know if she republished it.
I make mistakes. We all do, but if we want to publish we need to get it finished with almost no errors. How? Pay an editor? Their fees are very high and often outside the budget of many folk. Get a friend to read it? Better than nothing, but you need a friend with editing/proofreading skills. And not just one – three or four!!!
There are some good tools to use.
If you do your work in Word or similar don’t forget to set the language to the language you want. As an Aussie I know I like to write in Australian English. It is different to American English or British English, though closer to the latter. But write for your market. If you want your work published in America, use American English! Spell check as you go, and SAVE your work.
You can download a free version of Grammarly – which not only helps with spelling, but with grammar. There is also a Premium version which you pay for with additional benefits. It helps with commas, full stops, and other areas. It also works if you write on a website, or your own blog as it lets you know what it thinks are errors and you can choose to “obey” Grammarly or not.
In fact there are several editing and proofreading software options – do your research and see what one suits you and your budget. The above have FREE versions.
Text to Speech
Writers are advised to read aloud their work, but it is better to get someone else to read your work aloud and you can determine if it sounds as if you have used the right language. A free program is Natural Reader. You can choose which voice you wish to read for you (male or female) and you can choose the speed of reading. Don’t forget to sit and listen to it intently or you will “miss” any areas needing correction, but it is very helpful. Again a free program initially.
They are all good tools.