aka The Frazzled Mom
After writing my story, my friend and I proofread it. Then I asked others to proofread it as well. It looked to be in good shape and ready to go. But I was wrong. There were still issues with grammar, spelling and even minor details in the story line that each of us missed. Why? Possibly because:
1) we were too close to the project and
2) we were looking for only specific things (say only spelling errors, not grammatical errors or story consistency only)
We spent days, weeks, months going over and over it. She reviewed it at her home, I at mine. Then we would meet and go over our notes and discuss. We spent over a year editing, discussing and editing more. And yet, it still wasn’t enough.
What have I discovered?
Independent authors!!! We are held to a much higher standard than that of a well known author published by one of the big six (Hachette, Georg von Holtzbrinkc Publishing/Macmillan, Penguin, HarperCollins, Random House, Simon & Schuster). One misspelled word and you’ll find it noted in the review of your book. I disagree with these types of reviews. As a reader, I’m looking for the review of the story, not the grammar.
After realizing there were still mistakes to be corrected, I had to unpublish my novel. I wanted a high quality product for the public and felt I hadn’t gotten there yet. But the question is: when is enough, well, enough? There are always going to be mistakes found.
The thing about a first novel is similar to first impressions. You really need to get it right, as much as humanly possible, the first time. And this is where my naivety as a new author did more harm than good for me. I published too soon and really should have let the story sit for another half to full year. In the end, there is no substitute for a professional editor (who can be held to a higher standard, as your book will be). In the Writer Series, I will include guest posts from authors and their experience with editors.