DIY Authors and Self-publishers: How to check your own work

It is very important to choose a professional proofreader and editor to review your manuscript for typos, inconsistencies, grammar flaws and problems with your story-line. But even so, you can ensure a great relationship with your editor/proofreader and learn more about the writing process, if you follow these steps in checking your own work beforehand.

Be aware: If you are paying for the service of a business to assist you to self-publish, where you send them the manuscript and they literally launch the book across several online platforms and print-on-demand printers, ASK if proofreading and editing is included (and if not, then at what price it can be). These businesses will NOT generally review and proofread your material at all except to ensure it meets operational standards for online publishing and print. This means any grammar, spelling, graphic or storyline flaws will be printed and you will have a surprise later. This can become very costly if you want to make changes – you will need to pay for their services again. It can also cost a small fortune if you have a number printed and delivered and you are not willing to distribute your book because of embarrassing mistakes. (It can also mean that businesses or professionals who assisted you with self-publishing will not likely want their name imprinted in your book, if they do not believe it is of an acceptable printing standard, in order to preserve their own brand).

10 Steps You Can Take To Proofread Your Book As a Self-Publishing Author

1. Wait a week after you finish writing your book before you begin the reviewing process

2. Do not check your work if you are tired, have distractions or are feeling stressed or unwell

3. Read each sentence out loud. In that way you do not rely on your eye to send information to the brain. It is easy for the brain to read the first letter and the last letter and not notice errors in between – but reading out loud can help your brain to identify something out of place.

4. Scan the page backwards, once you have finished reading it forwards. Take in all elements including graphics.

5. Use complementary resources that will help you make corrections to spelling. If your book is apart of a series or has been mentioned in a previously published book, refer to the original book to use the same consistent wording. Search for spelling and correct grammar on google. Search locations on maps to check their proximity to other places in your plot setting as well as the spelling of location names.

6. Make the delete button your best friend. Be on the look-out for sentences that take too long to complete the message or have unnecessary or repetitive words. Don’t be afraid to press delete – a clean sentence is a great sentence.

7. Look for repetitive adjectives. If you have already explained something with describing words, delete those words if you do it a second, or third, time. At the same time, scan for descriptions that express your personal opinion too strongly or could offend readers.

8. Ask for “speak out loud” software to read the page to you. Listen to the dialogue while resting back in your chair with your eyes closed, and make changes to a hard copy of your manuscript if you hear something that doesn’t flow or causes confusing pronounciation.

9. Print the book manuscript chapter by chapter and read each chapter in a different place. Take it to a park and breathe in fresh air, for example.

10. Ask a group of trusted friends to review your work and email you (or take a photo of) any mistakes they see. You will be surprised how helpful they can be, how much they enjoy being involved, and how this will ultimately pay off in your marketing while they share, with excitement, to their friends and family that someone they know is about to publish a book!



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