There are a few components that go into making a good book. First is making sure you’ve got a great, well established story that you LOVE. Second is a professional book cover. The saying of “never judge a book by its cover” is a noble thought but unrealistic – especially in the digital world. Your cover is the gateway that will catch a reader’s eye or not.
However, even if you have a great story and a fabulous cover, it will be wasted effort if your book hasn’t been shined!
When I talk about “shine”, I’m referring to the edit and polish process. Every step along the way you need to be editing your book. Don’t ever skip over a typo thinking “oh I’ll catch that later” because chances are you won’t.
Our brains are hard-wired to what we’re thinking and when your brain knows what something “should” say, often that’s how it sees it. Proof-reading your own work is one of the hardest parts of your writing – but it’s crucial.
If your book is riddled with typos and big grammatical errors you run the risk of your reader losing interest simply because it’s just too difficult to read.
Do you have a family member or friend who can’t text worth a damn? We fondly dubbed my Mom’s texting style as Pam-e-nese. Well your readers won’t be anywhere near as forgiving if they can’t figure out what you’re trying to say, in fact they likely won’t even try.
Another consideration in your proof-reading process is in your choice of particular words or phrases. Take the time to go through your book slowly and ask yourself if certain words or phrases really are the best possible choice. Do they paint a vivid picture in your mind? Do they tingle your senses?
Ask not only if you’re using the best choice of words and phrases, but also whether or not key points offer clarity. Does the point you’re making actually make sense? Or do you feel like it needs further explanation? Try to simplify complex matters as much as possible and make sure that your words are saying what you actually mean.
Editing is one area that you don’t want to cut corners. Ideally, you should be hiring a freelance editor to do the most thorough level of editing that your budget can afford. If that’s not an option, enlist the help of friends and family. Another trick, though rather slow and tedious, is to read your work one sentence at a time, starting at the end and working back to the beginning – you’re not reading for flow or continuity, but you will catch a lot of typos, grammar and punctuation issues.