Self editing is a pain. It is inefficient. And sometimes totally incompetent.
But what is the novice to do? Not every writer is in a position to invest in a good proofreader and /or editor. Should you publish a flawed piece of work, or possibly not publish at all? It depends on what your real goal is. Consider if you want to get out a good story, but just can’t get over that last huddle, should you publish or not. Is a minor error going to kill it. Remember I said a minor flaw here or there, not an incompetent piece of writing.
First, write the best you can. Do your own proofing using tools that you can obtain free. Spell check is the first. Slick Write is another great tool. I find after I have read my rough draft two to three times and employed these tools, I am ready for my next tool.
Second, loading my story into a text to word program. There are several free or very cheap ones available. With a copy of my story on the screen I follow the computer’s program as it reads it back to me. I don’t use the version the program uses, I use the one I am used to working with. Even before I hear that clunk, when the computer reads what I wrote and it is the incorrect word, either for the usage or the spelling, I often see my errors. Sometimes words are missing altogether.
Third, feeling very confident with my work, I trust my baby to my editor. In my case a friend with no more experience than myself, but at least someone with no preconceived idea of the word usage.
With the work returned to me from my editor, I am now ready to begin STEP ONE once more.
On my novel Her Inheritance, which I hope to publish this month, we are in the fifth cycle of steps one through three. Even at this stage I would not bet against errors creeping into the work. But there is the rub. Without the resources to invest in the process and the near impossibility of most writers breaking into the world of publishing houses, we Indie writers must do the best we can, hoping that it is acceptable to the readers who invest in us.
The possibility of a few minor errors in an Indie e book is something I can live with as a reader, maybe not ever reader can.. To find the same error in a book published by an established publishing house, I would find it outrageous. They pay many people to find the errors. For that level of work I am expected to pay very good money.
As a writer myself, I know the joy of putting words into print that others read. So when I read a book written by another novice I concentrate on the experience, not the technical aspects. For this reason, most Indie writers are willing to sell their books at a far lower price, as well as to a more limited market in the hope of offering others the joy of reading what we as writers find to be a pleasure.