Friday, April 6, 2018

F = Feedback Is Needed Before You Publish

Welcome, A to Z bloggers, visitors, and of course all my faithful regular readers! This year's theme for my A to Z:
Short & Sweet Reasons Why You Need an Editor

So without further ado . . .

Feedback—the helpful kind—should always come before you publish, not after. Feedback from your readers in the form of book reviews is a wonderful thing . . . unless it isn’t wonderful feedback.

Everyone’s reading preferences are different, but if a book has not been edited, you can almost predict the type of feedback you’re going to receive on Goodreads, or Amazon, or any number of reviewing sites. Get your feedback nice and early from beta readers and editors, and at least you’ll know you’ve paved one more avenue toward a positive review later.

It never, ever hurts to have more sets of eyeballs on your work before the paying customers have their turn with it.

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like we have similar themes this year. :) getting as many eyes as possible on a project before it goes public is always a good idea. It's amazing the things they can point out that the writer may never see or realize.

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    1. I hear you! I think often we're too close to our own work to see what's missing (or what should be, haha). Thanks for the visit!

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  2. I have been, for the most part, staying out of your A-Z, because from financial necessity, I don't use an editor. My books' cumulative rating of about 4.5 over all platforms allows me to argue that it's working, but I have put hundreds of hours into learning what I'm doing, and recognize that I'm an outlier. But what you're telling indies here is absolutely indispensable.

    I don't care how well you've taught yourself to line-edit, clean up typos, or whatever, you cannot step outside yourself and read your own work with uninterested eyes! The more eyes of friends, family, and writing groups you can get on your story before you publish it, the better it will be for your success. The way to find a plot-hole is not by having it pointed out in your Amazon reviews!

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    1. Hey, you're safe here, Jack. You're not the first author to have published without an editor. However, having read at least one of your books (so far, until my editing schedule eases up and I can get to BTR II), I can honestly say that you've taught yourself well. Some of the best authors I work with put as much time into learning how/what to edit as they do into learning how to write, and it really shows when I can copyedit such a clean manuscript. An extra pair (or three) of eyes is still essential, but at least you're not working from ignorance. Another author I'm friends with, Martyn Halm, enlists the help of editor friends as his betas, and he gets solid advice from pros. He's also an excellent writer, but once again . . . it's the effort you put into it.

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  3. I had test readers and critique partners before my publisher's editor even saw the book. They find all sorts of stupid things we do and don't realize it.

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    1. I can manage ten stupid things before breakfast. I can't imagine a book full of them without someone telling me about it.

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  4. VERY good advice here. It's so difficult to look at one's own work objectively, although sometimes, just putting it away for several months aids in an author's seeing his/her own stuff with someone else's eyes... but that's never a perfect substitute for letting another see it.

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    1. Spot on. And my comment to you the other day (when we discussed fixing typos for old posts people may or may not ever stumble across again) rings true here, in that time & distance reveal errors to us that we may have missed when we were immersed.

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  5. Hi Lynda .. glad you and Jean have connected - these posts and comments will be invaluable to so many authors (and writers in general) ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Same here! When I did A to Z in 2014, I offered writing advice from an editor's point of view. This time I'm pretty much just shouting YOUNEEDANEDITORYOUNEEDANEDITORYOUNEEDANEDITOR over and over again, with different letters to start it. I'm having fun. ;)

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    1. Thanks, Emily! People on the internet can be savage. I'd rather have my friends tell me there are issues than have a stranger verbally bludgeon me.

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  7. Hi, I have been working on a memoir for over two years now. I still don't know how to go about finding an editor. And I'm now afraid I won't be able to afford one. I can't even seem to get others I know to even look at my story. And I really want to see what others think.

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    1. Well . . . I'm an editor . . . so that's one, and you didn't even have to look far.

      I think I can actually help you, Jamie. There are some great editors out there and there's a fit for every personality and every budget. I belong to a Facebook group called Ask A Book Editor, and it's filled with authors and editors who ask and answer questions about every aspect of the writing and production process. They're really positive and helpful, and the admins work hard to keep it that way. That group has a subgroup, AABE – Help Wanted, and when you're ready for edits, you put your request out there and LOTS of editors will respond. I do offer manuscript evaluation up to a certain number of words but am booked with larger projects right now until June. My suggestion for immediate feedback would be to look for beta readers (for the most part, they are usually free) and ask them specific questions to get the answers you want to know most about the way your book is written. I recently finished editing a memoir and can see if that author knows of any betas who would be good for this. If you'd like to email me to continue a conversation outside of these post comments, please feel free. My direct email is at the foot of my "services and pricing" page. I will do my best to put you in touch with others who may be able to help. :)

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I love comments, and will always answer them, partly because I like having the last word and partly because I just like getting to know the people who read my blog. (Note: if the post is more than a couple weeks old, your comment will automatically go into the "needs approval" folder, but I will still publish it and reply!)