Check Mate!

BlackboardOne of the things which unfortunately slaps you in the face about many self-published, first-time authors is that their books get uploaded complete with a whole host of easily rectified errors that any self-respecting editor would have picked up on and corrected.

Of course, editors are expensive – they can add hundreds of dollars, pounds, euros, etc to the cost of your book and, if you’re trying to do it all on a budget, it can quickly get prohibitive. While there can be no complete substitute for the eyes of a professional, a lot can be done by friends, relatives and other authors as part of a co-operative but they do need to be brutal with both you and the truth.

It’s worth compiling a checklist for them to work with – they’re not professionals and they’ll need to know what they’re looking for.

To get you started, and to show you what I mean, here’s an abbreviated summary of three of the most common error types.

  • Double words – such as as this. It’s particularly easy to miss when your sentence spans two lines
  • Wrong choices – for example; (they’re, there, their), (whose, who’s) and (to, too)
  • Silly words – modern nonsense such as ‘loose’ (instead of ‘lose’) and the awful ‘alot’

Don’t let anyone read your work who’s (!) afraid to criticise what you’ve written. This is not ‘just’ a novel, this is a commercial product which must stand or fall by its quality and you need to ensure it’s as near perfect as you can get it.

No-one makes allowances for beginners so don’t expect such treatment.