Monday 26 March 2012

Small Publisher or Pure Indie? Choose Carefully

More and more I'm seeing these small press/publishers springing up. On facebook, I see people announcing the publication of their book by X and Y Publishers and I take a look out of curiosity. I want to be happy for them, really I do, but I read the first few pages on amazon and they are often riddled with errors - missing words, grammar issues and spelling mistakes.

If you self-publish as an indie, you really should hire an editor, or just a proof-reader, or even just a beta reader with a good grasp of the written language. Everything helps. It's not always about money. There are often students who will do this work for free in exchange for a reference, or you do a reciprocal read of another author's manuscript.

If you sign with a small publisher, you can be forgiven for thinking that as they are presumably taking a percentage of your earnings, you are entitled to at least a basic level of editing and proof-reading. Apparently not always. Maybe the publisher doesn't care? Maybe the publisher hasn't bothered to check, or worse still - doesn't spot errors. Or doesn't think their readers will care or notice? But by putting books out there, they are inviting criticism and sooner or later it will come. So why not make the work the best it can be before it is published in the first place?

Don't get me wrong - I have read some amazingly good books from indie authors and small publishers. Books where it's clear that both author and/or editor/publisher/whoever have taken an immense amount of care with every chapter. Check out some of the many blogs and websites that are springing up in an attempt to identify and market these books.

Indie authors - before you sign with a small publisher, please check out their website and other books they have published. The website should be immaculate - it's their shop front - and there is no excuse whatsoever for sloppy writing here. And if you find mistakes in other books, why do you think they will take any more care with yours?

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