Sunday, July 8, 2012

Confessions of a self-published author

I'm talking about publishing my novel Candlelight Sinner with errors. Maybe fifty all together, typos, missing words, missing speech marks, extra speech marks. Okay, fifty errors in an 80k novel may not seem much, but I find it almost unbearably embarrassing. After a lovely friend helped me with my Germish and with that having the awkward phrasing out of the way, I decided to proof the book myself on the Kindle as I normally spot those errors easily. I know, it's said everywhere, but I wanted to show I can do it. Look where it got me. Stupid, really. Although one can overlook those errors if they don't distract from the story, the vast amount alone makes me cringe. Luckily, I have found a wonderful proof reader for the future whom I've tested and who knows what is expected.
Self-publishing has been a trial and error experience; overall, I'd say, a really positive one, apart from my being rather tired of promoting and hence not doing much of it anymore. I'm almost sure that I've lost sales due to the errors in the books, for which I could kick myself, really. Despite receiving great reviews for all three books, I'm sure I could have sold more if it wasn't for the errors.
As you know I'm writing on a Thriller, which will be published under a different pen name some time this year, a clean slate for that book, if you will. I don't do it because of that, but it would be nice to have a book judged on its merit, without anyone knowing about the author; it's an experiment and if it goes well, I may publish some more, completely different books -- thriller, horror, sci-fi, etc. -- under that name. All of which will be properly proofed.
But I'll also bring out another book as Stella Deleuze this year. And my aim is to have it error free. I'll not make the mistake again to proof my own book. From what I've learned, errors occur when you rewrite, swap scenes around, add, delete. That's when a manuscript is the most prone to get messy. Best advice is to let it rest for a few weeks and go through it again. Slowly, then, when you're done, either get a professional to work on it, or someone you trust. I've noticed that I've added errors when correcting what the proof reader sent. So that's a fault on my part. Not sure how I'll deal with that in future, but I'll find a solution. No book of mine shall contain more than a few errors in future. Best would be to have zero, but you can't even guarantee that with a professional proof reader.
Please do me only one favour: do not say that you find errors in traditionally published books; just because there is the odd book which contains errors, doesn't make it right. :-)

PS: I've corrected mine. (Thank you, Sandra.x)

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