Writing and Publishing

The 4th Error of Self-Publishing: Poor Editing

After poor content, cover, and title, the fourth error is skipping or scrimping on the editing. Our books deserve quality editing.

I’ve never met anyone who could self-edit with complete success. Yes, some writers are better than others. And, with time, we can all improve our self-editing skills, but we will never catch every error in our own work.

We need others to edit for us—but not just anyone. Your aunt who’s good at English doesn’t count or your friend who likes to read. These folks might serve well as first-readers but not for a final edit.

Types of Quality Editing

Also, there are different types of edits—and we need them all. Depending on who you ask, there are at least three; they go by different names. One type looks at the big picture, addressing the overall concept and construction of the work.

Another focuses on the book’s flow, from one chapter to the next, one scene to the next, and one sentence to the next. A third type fine-tunes the piece, considering grammar, word choice, typos, and punctuation. And there may be other types of edits, too.

Although we can trade editing services with other writers or perhaps even find someone who is qualified and willing to do it for free, we usually need to pay for editing at each level. This isn’t cheap, but if we want our work to shine—and not pile up critical reviews – we need quality editing.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

2 replies on “The 4th Error of Self-Publishing: Poor Editing”

What types of errors do you usually catch in your own work?
– sentences that don’t sound right; some spelling errors;

Which ones do you tend to overlook?
– closed quotation marks; the flow; punctuation; word usag; grammar

Patti, that’s a great question.

I generally catch issues with flow and word choice.

My weak areas are grammar and spelling. (All my words are spelled correctly–thanks to spell check–but they may be the wrong words. This is even more pronounced now that I use dictation to write my first draft.)

What do you think? Please leave a comment!