After weeks, months or years, you have finally finished the last draft of your book.
No doubt you have spent hours upon hours checking grammar, spelling, punctuation, plot errors as well as fixing formatting and style problems. You have probably read your final draft so many times by now that you are sick to death of it, but finally, you know it’s perfect and you’re ready to publish your new book.
DO NOT HIT THE PUBLISH BUTTON!
No matter what your level of expertise in writing, or your depth of acumen in English grammar and lexis, there is just no way on this planet that your manuscript is ready for publication yet. You wrote it; therefore, you love it. Therefore, you do not have the independent eye that is now necessary to find the problems that still lie within your writing.
After publishing nearly a dozen books, I can speak from hard learned experience that errors within a published book not only reduce its readability, but also have a detrimental effect on your reputation as an author, and of course on book sales. Apart from my writing, I am an English teacher so it would be reasonable to assume I have a good grasp of the English language and can do a decent job of editing and proofreading. Well yes, but not of my writing. There is something weird about the human brain that stubbornly refuses to accept its own mistakes.
I would never think of publishing anything longer than a blog post without an independent assessment of my writing. Whether it be an editor, a proofreader or a number of beta readers, the need for independent assessment is vital. In my case, I use all three when it comes time to publish a new book.
It is common knowledge that self-publishing has allowed every man, woman, and his or her dog to publish a book nowadays and that the poor quality of a lot of what is ‘Indie’ published is casting a shadow over self-publishing. However, readers who scan Amazon and other ebook and book retailers for books to buy and read don’t necessarily divide their choices between big publishers and Indie publishers. They make their choice based on the old fashioned standard of quality. If there are clanging errors in the first 3,000 words that are available as a preview read for your book, you’re dead meat so to say. So don’t rush to publish. Slow down and take your time and get those independent eyes working on your manuscript.
Then while you’re waiting for your new manuscript to be edited, proofread and beta read, why not spend your time productively? What about a great cover and a killer book description and blurb that will help sell your book as well as updating your author bio? Start making contact with book bloggers and reviewers and advise them of your upcoming book. What about an author interview or three?
Then, even with the most meticulous editing and proofreading, errors can still slip through. Luckily, though, the technology of publishing now allows for a quick republish when these are spotted, so one could say that the process of perfecting a manuscript can be an ongoing process. In my case, I have updated my books on numerous occasions as I have noticed small errors or typos that have slipped through.
So never sacrifice speed for quality. Publishing quality books that are readable and thus enjoyable for readers takes and patience. Don’t rush to the publish button and ruin your reputation.