Please Get a Second Reader

Picture of old manual typewriterI recently saw an interesting tweet from an author promoting her ebook. The pitch was good, so I clicked the link through to an Amazon page selling her book. The additional information there was promising, but the reviews were alarming. Just two, and both were one-star ratings. The reviewers complained of poor spelling and grammar. No sale. I returned to Twitter, saw another book by a different author, and discovered similar poor reviews. This time the complaints were about a character that apparently had two names, and a sudden ending. A look through Amazon’s listings reveals many more books with one-star ratings, often due to poor grammar or plot errors.

I feel sorry for these authors. They took the time and effort to write stories. This is not easy. Then they did the work of preparing ebooks, posting them to Amazon, and promoting them. All of this takes hard work and courage. The result is public shaming over easily avoided mistakes, and probably poor sales.

Before publishing your ebook, please ask at least one other person to read it. A second set of eyes can spot mistakes that you might overlook. Ideally, the other person reading your book will have a strong grasp of English and is familiar with the genre. They should be able to give you honest and objective feedback about your work.

Other readers can be anyone from friends and family to critique groups and beta readers (free or paid). Another option is to hire an Editor for manuscript evaluation or editing. A manuscript evaluation is a broad review of the strengths and weaknesses in areas including grammar, plot, characterization, and style, with tips for improvements. Editing is a more thorough analysis and correction of one or more specific areas, and is more costly than a manuscript evaluation.

Asking a friend to read and comment on your work is easy. For any other service, make sure you understand exactly what is provided, the terms (such as how long it will take to get the response), and the cost.  Regardless of how you do it, please get a second reader. Don’t go to all the work of publishing your book, only to end up with discouraging one-star reviews and poor sales.

Categorized as Editing

By trc

Freelance writer, freelance editor, web consultant, and film studies scholar.

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