Guest Post

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Sunday, May 10, 2015


ALERT, ALERT:  The Summer of Love romance novel contest ends on May 15, and there will be more than one winner. In the meantime, special prizes are being given away almost daily. Check out how to enter for the next prize at 

cj Sez:  Did you ever open a book, read a few chapters (or even a few lines), and then put it down because of errata, i.e.; those typos, misspellings, and factual errors that drive a pedantic like me crazy. One or two will make me shake my head and pause; a lot of them will stop me in my tracks.

I used to find that indie books were the worst. They tended to be poorly edited if not poorly written. Now, I’m finding errors in books by established authors and big publishing houses who should know better. Perhaps it comes down to the time it takes to do a detailed copy edit vs. getting the book on the market.

The problem with self-published books is that they are so often done on a shoestring (cost-wise) that the author cannot afford to pay for a copy editor. Unfortunately, I’ve come across some writers who simply don’t want to go through the process.

(From my author Facebook page)
Speaking from experience, self-edits and beta readers do not, will not, and cannot catch everything that a professional copy editor will. When I was gainfully employed, one of my report/column-writing rules was to get as many people as possible to read the document . . . the more eyes on it the better the end product. That wasn’t easy to do when I was on deadline, and my work wasn’t on the top of someone else’s to-do list. But the effort was so worth it.

The same thing is true about an author’s manuscript. I, me, personally, want my manuscript to be the best I can make it. I read the document on the computer screen, and then I print a few pages. Because the text looks different when printed, I’ll spot the missing comma, period, or quotation mark that was missed on numerous computer-screen read-throughs. Sometimes, I make a copy of the printed page. Copying changes the size and look of the font once again, and I will (too often) find something else to correct.

My advice: Don’t presume that because you’ve typed “The End,” your manuscript is finished. It’s probably months away from being ready for publication. It needs fresh eyes. It’s a personal and financial consideration for each author, but please consider hiring a copy editor if you can afford it. Caveat: Expect that if your manuscript is accepted by a publisher, their punctuation rules for how they want their publication to look may differ from your copy editor’s input, and there could be more changes to be made.

Got any horror or triumphant stories to share? Send them along. Lyrical Pens would love to read them.

 You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


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