For some reason, authors believe that they are able to write, edit, and publish their own work without having it vetted by publishing professionals. I'm not talking about the "I-found-him-online" paid editors who may or may not have a clue about today's publishing standards, or what is acceptable in your genre, or do anything more than mark up your grammar and charge you a LOT of money.
I'm talking about traditionally/successfully published authors, critique groups,readers, and proofers. People NOT related to you who will read your work and give you honest feedback on literary elements such as:
These are some of the issues that professional readers and writers can spot that the author may be too close to their work to see. If nothing else in this blog sticks with you, remember this: NO author can edit themselves. If you don't believe me, ask any successful author.
And all of this work is done, redone, checked, and rechecked multiple times before you format your print or ebook!
When you are ready for that step, examine several traditional ebooks and print books as you format yours. Make sure your pages look like theirs. Make sure you have the same pages at the beginning and end of your book with the same information as they do. Look at headers, footers and page numbers for your print books. Check the consistent use of fonts. Look at where on the page the chapters begin. Is the first letter in the chapter enlarged? Is the first word or phrase in bold? Details!
When it comes to typos, there is no point in proofing any manuscript until it's in its final form. Order multiple copies of your print proof and have two or three rounds of readers mark the typos (fix the book between rounds and then order new proofs). Because there WILL be typos. Plenty of them. Ditto for the ebook. Don't stop until it's as clean as you can make it!
- Professional writer groups comprised of traditionally published authors (join several)
- A critique group made up of authors from these writer groups
- Anal-retentive/OCD friends of yours who are intelligent and like to read, and who read a lot (doesn't matter what genre)