Sunday, March 04, 2012

BOOK EDITING: Don’t Pass on Editing Your Ebook

This article was recently featured in Dan Poynter's newsletter Publishing Poynters.

The buzz is that one of the major missteps ebook authors are making is avoiding professional editing. I noticed that Mark Coker, Founder of the ebook publisher Smashwords, is among those pointing this out. In a recent article on author mistakes, Coker notes, “Many indie authors rush their books to market before the book has been properly edited or proofread… Every book benefits from the unforgiving eye of an independent editor and proofreader.”

Think again if you believe that readers are more accepting of errors and sloppy writing in ebooks. On Amazon, readers are complaining about such frustrations in Kindle ebooks, and some are even demanding refunds. Readers say that grammatical mistakes, punctuation errors, and other blunders are annoying, take away from the writer’s credibility, and can make them stop reading the book. Some are becoming jaded about ebooks altogether, and choosing to stay away.

The eyes of a professional editor are trained to see the mistakes your eyes overlook. For instance, I recently did an edit of a novel that the author believed to be ready for publishing. In the subsequent edit, I was able to eliminate his redundancies, point out unclear sections, correct inconsistencies, spot embarrassing misspellings in his field of expertise, and fix or query questionable “facts.” This was in addition to addressing basics, like punctuation, grammar and typos.

Beyond a lack of editorial attention, one way errors slip into ebooks is in the production process. To avoid issues during the conversion to multiple formats, keep the formatting of your ebook manuscript minimal. Unless you’ll only be producing PDFs, it can be helpful to avoid tables and charts (or insert them as static graphics inline [no wrapping of text] in the .gif or .png format), avoid columns, and stick with plain text and a couple header levels. Times Roman is the perfect font for epublishing. I recommend working with designers with experience in laying out ebooks, as well as dealing with the various ebook outlets. Also, Bookbaby, Smashwords and the newer Folium are popular services that help get your books in the various ebook formats.

At a recent ebook panel, Smashword’s Jim Azevedo said that the place where authors are making money with ebooks is on Amazon. One way to get your ebooks on Amazon is through its Kindle Direct Publishing program. Be aware that this is an exclusive distribution program for your ebook.

If you have any questions about editing or ebooks, feel free to contact me. Bottom line: Take pride in your book, hire a good editor, and give yourself and your book the best chances for success.

To your publishing success!

Quinn’s Word for Word
310-838-7098 / / /
Book Editing, Ghostwriting, Copywriting & Book Coaching