Line editing makes all the difference.
No matter how great your new story may be, are you really sure that you have an error-free manuscript? Hitting the publish button because you are impatient to get your fantastic new book out to readers can be one of the most fatal mistakes a self-publishing author can make if you have not done line editing.
New books fail for many reasons; such as a weak plot, shallow characters or simply because it is not in a popular genre. This is a fact of life in publishing fiction. But to have your new book fail because it contains so many errors that it makes it annoyingly unreadable because of poor or no line editing is a guaranteed way to gain poor reviews and sentence your new book to failure.
I only mention this because I am in the process of preparing a new book for publication. After completing the first draft, I went through my usual editing process, which involves three full proofreads and edits. The first is for plot problems and omissions as well as character development. Of course, I catch a few typos as well. The second edit for me is about style, tense and flow, and making sure that there is fluidity in the text that will make reading easier. The last edit is all about grammar, spelling, typos and catching any other annoying gremlins with line editing.
Then it is off to my beta readers, who are wonderful in giving me not only feedback on the story but also very often, returning my manuscript with a list of typos, errors or suggestions using Word track change.
Of course, from these track change notes, I check every one and make the necessary changes to my manuscript.
So my manuscript should be perfect and ready to publish now, huh?
No way! I have started on yet another proofread myself, and I am about half way, though. So far I have found about another 20 errors. Given this, I can probably expect to find another 20 before I am finished.
It takes a long time, and a lot of patience and determination to finally get to a clean manuscript. There are no shortcuts and line editing must be done meticulously.
A book remains for a very long time, so a few weeks or even months in making sure it is the very best it can possibly be is an investment that will pay dividends over the long term. But is there ever a perfect text? Rarely in my experience, as even in textbooks I use for teaching I find errors. However, as a self-publisher, I have an advantage over my textbook publishers.
I can fix my errors!
This happened to me about a month ago, when I was horrified to find an error in a book I published three years ago and had been selling very nicely for all that time by the way. The error I found was on the SECOND page! Instead of ‘your’ it read ‘you’.
Within two minutes I had uploaded my corrected manuscript for my ebook and paperback versions. And then, of course, began line editing this book all over again. Thank you self-publishing for a second chance!
So, even if you are meticulous, errors can slip through, so never rush line editing and proofreading. Take your time, do the very best you possibly can, and even after you have published your book, read it again from time to time and take advantage of the fact that you can always catch, and kill the little gremlins if you find one!