As a trained professional who has been writing, editing and publishing for many years, my stomach ties in knots when I see some of the self-published books being printed these days. Don't get me wrong. There are some great self-published books out there - and we have helped add to the pile of great ones - but there are some that could have used a lot more 'fixing' before they were printed. And that's being polite.
With advances in technology and ever-expanding options for printing books (and thus self-publishing any old thing or just printing whatever is written or compiled), it is now easier than ever for anyone to self-publish - often without any idea of what's right and what's wrong, what's legal and not, what's better and what should never be done.
It concerns me.
Without even going into the dos and don'ts of actual content and storylines, I sometimes see these errors in self-published books: incorrect spelling; improper capitalizations; incorrect use of hyphens; quotes and excerpts and photos and maps that are not accredited to their originators; inconsistent layout styles throughout a book; the use of unreadable fonts; images with no identification at all or the names in the wrong order for the photo. Sadly, the list goes on.
While it is wonderful that you are so passionate about your story that you are taking steps to self-publish it - which I have been doing as well, by the way - this is my plea to aspiring self-publishers:
Please, please, PLEASE hire a trained, knowledgeable, experienced editor (like us at DriverWorks Ink, of course) who can advise you on the rules, help you fix your mistakes (we all make them) and polish your book so it imparts your message in the best way.
There are ever-changing rules and ideas on: grammar and spelling, attribution and copyright, libel (written work) and slander (spoken about your work), fonts, text, photograph resolution and placement, use of colour, layout strategies and more. Some of these apply to an editor. Some are for the layout designer. If you're a self-publisher, you need to know it all.
Find an editor who keeps up with the industry, sits with a dictionary at her or his side, and can work closely with you to make sure your message gets out there in the most positive way possible.
Just because you love to write doesn't make you a writer ready to be published. It's not that simple. It can take years to hone writing skills and it's not wise to self-publish without a trained editor examining your work. A good editor can make suggestions on how to improve your writing both in general and in the piece you are intending to self-publish. An editor can also help you avoid legal pitfalls with your work - which should be an item on the agenda for every writer of every genre. Do it right the first time.
Now I'm not saying all editors are perfect. We know that's not possible. But we try. And we editors would really like to help you as best we can. Please find one of us and get our help before you self-publish.
You'll be glad you did.
Okay. Now get back to your project.
We're wishing you well in putting out a great book!
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