Ever dropped a clanger, made a blooper? I have, more times than I care to remember.
We are only human after all. Sometimes we are blind to our mistakes and need to have someone point them out to us, as kindly as possible of course. I’ve made mistakes in writing and in speaking. The right choice of words can be crucial to your reader or listener understanding what you are trying to communicate. If something is badly written, with lots of grammatical, syntax, and/ or punctuation errors it will be a turn off to the reading public.
One of the things drummed into us at Creative Writing, and again on Saturday at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, is the need for effective editing. This is particularly evident in some of the self- published eBooks that are appearing on the www and this was discussed by two of the presenters, both publishers, at the festival.
I learned this the hard way when placing my eBook of poetry with Amazon. Yes, I’d proof read it a few times before uploading it and it looked OK. Formatting poetry for eBooks is hard and it was a problem for me, at least with Amazon, I figured out how to do it for my blog. I reviewed and reloaded that book several times before I finally gave up. I made up an artwork cover for it and reloaded that as well. The first edition of the book was poor; the final improved but far from perfect. I made many mistakes and the whole thing was a big learning curve for me. My family and friends stuck with me and their support was so encouraging.
What have I learned? Take as much time as it takes. It’s easy to get excited about having decided to publish a book. I tend to rush into things and this is one of my biggest faults. Slow down, take time, look at it all again, and ask questions about how others will view the work. Read through it as though you are a reader, not the writer. Edit, edit, edit and keep on editing. Have others proof read it and even pay a professional to edit it for you. It’s well worth the money. I’m going to try very hard to listen to myself and do all this with everything I write from now on.
COPY! Take this to the editor please.