Why Indies HAVE to Read and Review Self-Published Work

I agree with this post. Indie authors (and soon to be indie authors) must read and promote each other’s work because it can be difficult to get noticed. So shout about the short stories, novellas, and novels that you enjoyed. Most likely, you’ll get the same in return when your book hits the ‘Net.

Author Allen


If you’ve self published, you know that the hardest part of the process is certainly not writing the book. In fact, writing it is the enjoyable part. Marketing it is the bane of indie author existence. After all, you’re authors, not professional marketers. Most self-published authors certainly aren’t rich and definitely can’t finance a marketing campaign, but we all know that without people finding out about your writing, simply hitting the ‘publish’ button online won’t mean a thing. You could have a work of art. You may have written the next Harry Potter series, but if nobody reads it, you’re done. Your work gets buried in the glut of other books. It will be hidden in between the work by a ninth grader and some fitness book that your thousand pound yoga instructor wrote.

That is where other self-published authors come in. Since trying to merge into the scene, I…

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Body of Proof: Proofreading for Writers

Proofreading is a necessity for any writer.

And you should proof to the best of your (and the Internet’s) ability before you send it to anyone else to read. Even your Beta readers or your Mom. They may not say anything but they’ll notice. Probably.

What is proofreading? It’s checking the basics. Are the words spelled correctly? Is it the right version on the word? (to, too, two for example)  Has a word been left out of a sentence?

Maybe you used a word you didn’t mean. Spellchecking programs will not always catch these. Especially if you leave the “l” out of the word public. Cringe.

Oh noes!
Oh noes!

It happens, even after you’ve read over your own work ten (or more) times. You’ve looked at this piece over and over again and your brain is filling in the words that you meant to write. That’s why I recommend you find someone else to proofread for you.

Your proofer should catch oversights like these for you before your work goes to print. If you’re proofreading for yourself, give your eyes (and your brain) a break from looking at the same text it just created.

How much time? It varies from a few hours to a few weeks. In my opinion for the best results, you need to fill that time with something non-writing related.

I’ve had my work go to an editor and then to a proofer. They each knew the lines of their duties and didn’t cross them. But some presses have one person that does both.

When it comes to some vanity presses, you’re on your own because the publisher tells you upfront that your work will not go through a proofing process before it goes to print. Same goes if you’re self-publishing. If you find yourself responsible for your own proofreading, read and re-read the text or ask a friend that will be honest with you to read it.

A friend commented once during a writer’s dinner out: “Get someone to read your work that doesn’t like you and hasn’t slept with you.” (Well, he didn’t use the term “slept with” but I have to edit myself before I put these posts up. But more on editing in the next segment.)

But I agree to a certain extent. Find a proofreader that won’t hold back on corrections. Even if the paper fills up with red ink or the screen gets overloaded with tracked changes. And don’t be offended or discouraged if your work is returned to you that way.

It may save you from having your mistakes seen in “pubic”.

Will You Look At This?

People have often asked me if I will take a look at their work.

Sometimes it’s another writer asking me to read a short story before a submission, other times it’s a co-worker asking me to look at a letter before she sends it to a client. Once it was a friend asking me to read an email to his boss that was filled with “suggestions”. (My comment on that one was not to send it at all.)

It isn’t unusual for me to be asked to read something, but I always need to clarify what the asker really wants in regard to feedback. Do they want it proofread, edited, critiqued, or judged? A combination of two? Or all four?

Typically, I’m met with a quizzical look or an unsure, hesitant mumbling.

What do you mean, you don't know?What do you mean, you don’t know?

On one occasion I had this response to my question: “Just whatever. All of it. Work it out.”   Ummm… okay.

Well, not really.

It’s important as a writer to know the difference between proofreading, editing, critiquing, and judging.


One: Expectations – Know what you’re getting from the person spending his or her time reading your work.

Two: Awareness – Know which of the above your work needs and why.

Three: Save money – Don’t waste your money having pay for something you don’t need. Or worse, not getting what you wanted and paid for.

I’ll do a short post on each of the four above in hopes that it may help you make a few decisions on who you should put your work in front of, be it a manuscript, a work project, or a hastily written email.

On second thought, you might not want to put a hastily written email in front of anyone.