By BlueInk Review
As summer kicks into full gear, many are taking the time to write that novel or memoir they’ve been planning to get to for years. If you’re aiming to self-publish, it’s important to put your best foot forward.
At BlueInk Review we’ve written professional reviews of thousands of indie books and talked to countless authors. And we’ve seen too many of those authors make the same mistakes. It’s time to put down the umbrella drink, buckle down and focus on the frequently overlooked essentials.
In the coming months, resolve to:
Hyre a kopee editer to currect your spilling, gremmer and punctchatiaon.
Have some trouble reading that? Let us recap in better English: Hire a copy editor to correct my spelling, grammar and punctuation.
You might laugh, but this is the kind of spelling we come across far too often. If you ignore all the other resolutions, we beg you: don’t overlook this one. Bad mechanics immediately mark you as an amateur. This doesn’t mean that you can skate through by asking your friend who majored in English check over your manuscript, either. Hire a professional copy editor. Professionals know how to make the writing mechanics consistent, which is subliminally critical to readers; your English major friend does not. Pay up. Your readers will thank you.
Hire a content editor before publishing your book.
You may think your book makes perfect sense. But you would—you wrote it. Get a professional opinion before paying thousands of dollars to print your book. We can’t count the number of reviewers who tell us a book could have been awesome – if only the author had hired an editor to give them better direction.
Find a title that matches the content of your book.
You’d be amazed at how many times we open a book expecting a high-tech thriller, for example, only to find a memoir about the author’s life growing up in New Jersey. For those who love high-tech thrillers, this is akin to opening a birthday present expecting fine jewelry and getting a whoopee cushion instead. Titles create expectations. Be sure your readers won’t be disappointed or jolted when they start reading your book.
Ask yourself: who will read this memoir?
Sure, you can write the story of your life. But don’t print too many copies if that life will only interest your family and friends. Memoirs attract readers when the author is able to write artfully and poignantly about an exceptional life – either exceptionally troubled or exceptionally successful. The vast majority of us live lives in between. Those lives, alas, don’t often attract widespread readership.
Study the market before finishing your book.
Heart surgeons follow certain procedures that differ from liver specialists. Writers must learn their specialties, as well. Readers expect certain conventions when it comes to suspense, romance, mysteries and so on. Study the type of book you are writing. What do the covers generally look like? What expertise do the authors generally have? What sort of story does the audience expect? If you ignore this resolution, you risk confusing readers and your book’s chances for survival diminish considerably.
Keep your eye on the ball.
It’s easy to get discouraged and distracted and to just want to get the darn thing done. But stay focused, even through that mid-afternoon lull, and you’ll have yourself an editor, a marketing plan and a clean conscience by dinnertime.
Then you can pour yourself an icy Arnold-Palmer, lay out a picnic blanket and daydream about your imminent self-published success.
Patti Thorn is the former books editor at the Rocky Mountain News and a co-founder of BlueInk Review, a company that offers credible and unbiased reviews of self-published books exclusively. For more information: www.blueinkreview.com.