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Indie-authors and the Joy of Proofreading

Part of my paper-free regime means that I am becoming a fan of e-books, and mainly books that are produced by independent authors. In the last few weeks I have uncovered Ian Hocking, Syd Moore, Ty Johnston and Charlie Revelle Smith.

All of the above wrote books that I enjoyed very much and I have become fans of their work. However, in some cases it has thrown up something that we indie-authors really need to consider carefully: proofreading.

Last night I finished 1888, by Charlie Revelle Smith (http://www.amazon.co.uk/1888-Jack-Ripper-Novel-ebook/dp/B007Y61EPS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360756058&sr=1-1); a brilliantly realised work based on the killings of Jack the Ripper. This is a subject that has always interested me in my dark, gothic mind, and I loved how Whitechapel of the time came alive in the book. Having read some reviews, I was told that some of the facts were wrong, including people’s names. This did not concern me; I just enjoyed the ride and felt the emotions of the characters as they tried to live in a time of fear. All of the reviews that I read did mention that the work needed proofreading and Charlie himself states on Amazon that he has proofed and re-loaded his work. If this is the case then it must have been bad beforehand because, especially in the last 10% of the work, there were some glaring errors.

Now this did not detract from my enjoyment of the book, and it is not solely the domain of the indie-author to get things wrong; I recently came across a Sherlock Holmes novel, published by the BBC with Benedict Cumberbatch gracing the front cover and inside, on all of the pages as the header, it read ‘The Hound of the Baskville’: very shoddy work BBC.

It does happen. In my first book, Pirates Vs Fairies, after ordering a 50 book print run to sell to schools, guess what flew out at me immediately as I opened the first page? A mistake. I noticed some in Ian Hocking’s brilliant Saskia Brandt series. There is a grammatical error on the title of mt first poem in Twen2y Ei8ht. There will no doubt me some in my current novel The Sublime Maisie Canon.

What I want to try and remind authors is the importance of it and it feels like 1888 may have been rushed into publication, which is easily done in the excitement of producing an e-book. Indie-authors need to treat themselves seriously; you are a business, and your business is writing. It is a vitally boring part of the process. Luckily, I have found someone with a very good eye who will pour over my latest work for nothing. But if you do not have such a person then it may be worth considering paying someone to do it.

It is your work and you have spent an amazing amount of time in front of a screen getting your story right. It is a shame when, as a reader, you are jolted back into the present because a sentence does not fit right or a word is mis-spelled. It does jar and it does affect the flow.

I am not criticising at all and please do not take it as such. I am the biggest fan of novels written by those of us who can break the mould. I just ask that we…me included…have a little patience; as Gary Barlow once said.

Paper-free has opened a challenge for Valentine’s Day and what I have done is recycled; I have made my own card; I have used images from old magazines and I have downloaded the Les Mis’ which my other half wailed through at the cinema. We’re having fish n’ chips and I’ve bought a bottle of Champagne. Hopefully, it will see me right.

A link to footage related to my latest novel, The Sublime Maisie Canon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U63I28wicTk

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3 responses to “Indie-authors and the Joy of Proofreading

  1. Marissa

    True on all counts, Zac. Just finished a Chopra hardback with some spelling & tense errors toward the end. Jarring! We can all improve at reviewing those tiny details! Be blessed, Marissa

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