Just read an old favorite on Amazon Kindle, Dan Millman’s WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR: A Book That Changes Lives.
What a great book to re-visit, but holy cow, there were a ton of typos. We’re not talking a few but dozens and dozens of glaring ones. How can a former international bestseller, a professionally agented, edited and published book have so many typos? Mind-scratcher.
For all the indie author self-publishers out there, this is the number one complaint from Kindle readers: typos. And it’s clearly not limited to the small guys. Big publishers also make mistakes or have conversion issues from print to electronic document, so don’t fall into the same traps.
What to do? It’s really hard to see them all yourself especially on the computer screen. For some reason, it’s much easier to see them in print or in someone else’s work. Even English majors can read the same paragraph over and over and miss their own glaring typos, so if a professional editor isn’t in the budget you must have at least a half-dozen people (hopefully brutally honest strangers from solid critique groups) read your manuscript. If any of the readers are friends and family, let them know they will only be doing you a favor by pointing out anything and everything they find, even if they don’t like certain parts or the book in general. Writers need thick skin to make books better. Get rid of the typos (and other issues) so yours will be way ahead of the average indie book.
- Use spell check, even if it means spending a whole day going through the manuscript and ignoring things like fragmented sentences spell check so annoyingly points out. (Can that be turned off?) It’s incredible that some indie authors don’t pay attention to basic spell check.
- Get involved with good critique groups like at Goodreads, RedRoom, Authonomy, Yahoo Critique groups or elsewhere. Savvy readers can typically identify problems in the first chapters that are likely to be repeating patterns throughout your book. Fix the problems early on and apply the lessons from there.
- Hire a pro-editor if you can. It’s amazing what a good one can do. The forums listed above are good places to ask around. Get recommendations from other writers too.
Once you do finally upload to Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook, remember that there is a Preview option to see what it looks like before publication. Might as well read at least ten pages checking for any typos or odd conversion glitches. If you don’t find any after ten pages, chances are you won’t have dozens of them the rest of the way.
Your thoughts or comments?