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january tip of day

January 8 Book Marketing Tip: Decide how soon to send your manuscript out for review

This is more a question/issue to ponder than a tip, necessarily. It comes out of a real-life conversation with a friend. Beth is a retired adoption case worker. Since retiring, she’s hung out her shingle as a private adoption counselor and is still very much involved in the adoption world – mostly U.S. infant adoptions.

chicken egg

One other thing she does to stay current with adoption is review adoption books and movies on her blog, Bibliotherapy for Adoption. A few weeks ago, she was telling me about a book she’s been asked to review, pre-publication. Her comments spurred this post:

In just the short piece I’ve read, I’ve found three typos. Darn! The editor in me can’t get past that, to read the content. You can add: “Proofread your copy before you send it out for review” to your list of [author] TO-DOs. Since the typos bother me so much, I am tempted to read through and mark it up, then reread for content.

And Beth is absolutely right. Any worthy reader is likely to notice grammar errors and typos in a published book, let alone one that is still in draft form. Here’s the conundrum, as I explained to Beth.

If a self-publishing author waits until their manuscript is fully proofed to send it out for reviews/endorsements, it’s quite often way too late for the reviews to be of much use. Yet no reader worth their salt will allow grammar issues and typos to go unnoticed. I suppose putting UNCORRECTED PROOF on the front might assuage some expectations, however.

Your book timeline has to factor in editing and proofreading, preferably before you begin sending out review copies. This might seem like a no-brainer – of course you get it proofed before you send it out! But some of the more established reviewers (not necessarily book bloggers like Beth) must receive the book 3 to 4 months in advance of your publication date. That means either (a) you wait till it’s proofed, professionally typeset, and in perfect shape for review, postponing your publication date until you know the reviews will be in or (b) you send a relatively polished bound manuscript for review, which you identify as an “uncorrected proof,” and hope your advance readers/reviewers can overlook any small mistakes.

I will keep hammering this point for as long as this blog endures: editing and proofreading matter! Once your prospective reader gets past the cover to open your book, they’re going to read your words. If Beth is just a few pages into this manuscript and is noticing errors, what are the chances she will see errors at p. 97 or p. 133? You want your reader to open at any point in the book and KEEP READING.

If the thought had occurred to you that you’re a good writer, you’ve worked hard on your book, and you don’t really need editing and proofreading, I hope this post has disabused you of that idea. No matter how good you are, you cannot edit/proof your own work!

What are your experiences with the review/proofreading process? Please share them in a private message or in the comment section below!

Happy writing!

Laura

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