You are about to publish your first book. The manuscript is as pristine as human eyes can make it. However, to ensure this, the wise indie will follow these steps, in this order:
First, as they are writing the manuscript, they will create a list of made-up words and usages that are unique to their manuscript. This is called a style-sheet, or in some circles, a Bible. The author will refer back to it and update it. They will supply the editor with it, who will also refer back to it and update it, which will ensure that fewer inconsistencies make it through to the final product. Once the manuscript is submission ready, the wise author will:
- Have it professionally line-edited (yes, this does cost, but it is SO worth it)
- Have it beta read by people who read in the genre you write in
- Have the final manuscript proofread by a professional (again, this has a cost attached to it)
- After it is proofed, the wise indie author will make use of the narrator app that comes with MS Word or use a free app such as Natural Reader. Read along with it, and you will spot the inconsistencies.
I made use of all these steps for my most recent manuscript, The Wayward Son, and still, the narrator app helped me locate several small inconsistencies, one of which (lighting versus lightning) could have thrown a reader out of the narrative. (There is no such thing as a lighting-mage in my books, although I do have lightning-mages.)
My global search list to correct inconsistencies found by Natural Reader narrator app in final MS for TWS:
- Andresson/Andreson (found 0)
- Lighting/lightning (found 2)
- Stefan/Stefyn (found 1)
- Abacci/Abbaci (found 0)
- Sparing/Sparring (found 0)
- Jerika–change name to Erika (found 3)
- Johnny/Jonny (found 1)
Despite my best efforts, some of these inconsistencies (those I marked in red) were found in the ARC and have been corrected. I accept that it’s possible that other inconsistencies will still exist in the published book, but not because I haven’t done due diligence and made every effort to eliminate them.
The Wayward Son, a companion book to Forbidden Road, has been uploaded to CreateSpace and is set to launch on September 15th.
Indies who want their work to be looked upon as professional will follow these suggestions. We can’t afford to be less than diligent with our process of preparing the manuscript for publication, as the industry’s reputation rides on our finished products.
Because the publishing industry as a whole holds indies in such low regard, we must ensure what we produce is a book the reader will like or dislike based on our work, our style of writing and the story we are telling. We owe it to our potential readers to give them a well-edited book, written with attention to the craft of writing AND publishing (yes, publishing is a craft) as well as with the passion of an author with something to say.