One of my superpowers is spotting errors in grammar, spelling and word usage (and you know that means I'll make a mistake in this post by saying that). I'm really irked by misspelled words in printed books. I find even less excuse for such errors in electronic books, because of the ease with which the author can use spelling/grammar checking and upload a new version. One of my dearest friends is an editor by profession; I truly believe a molecule of her soul is ripped from her when she sees errors in printed or electronic documents (if, indeed, “molecule” is a unit making up the soul).
But, you know, I've worked in academia all my working career, and have a library degree. So maybe (I hear you saying, as apparently I have phenomenal hearing) I'm just a tad too picky. In my defense, I suggest these reasons why you should edit (or have someone else edit) your book before you post it to your e-platform of choice.
- Respect for the reader. The person who purchases your e-book and reads it is carving time out of her busy life to share the world you've created. If you don't care enough about your book to shape it into the best narrative you possibly can, why should she care about reading it?
- Courtesy toward the reader. Ever have that sensation where you're reading smoothly along, enjoying the action, terrified for the hero, caught up in the romance and passion–and suddenly your eye lurches? You mentally say, “Huh?” (I often say it out loud.) A phrasing struck you wrong, you encounter a misspelled word. That error takes the reader out of the moment just as surely as if the phone rang. Help the reader stay in the experience you crafted for her.
- Pride in your craft. Writing is a learning experience. It's highly unlikely you'll write a best seller the first time you put quill to parchment–er, dark pixels to white pixels. You hone your craft through practice, reading websites, discussing with other writers. Show your growth by taking care of the basics first. The Indie Author Group on Facebook has a wonderful list of basic things to look out for in your writing.
Invest the time in your craft. You'll be glad you did.
Let me know your take on editing, in the comments below.