Mary Carver | Giving Up on Perfect
Case Study:As a professional who has seen a variety of ebooks, what do you think sets the great books apart from the okay ones?
I think what sets great ebooks apart from all the rest is helpful information shared in a compelling, relatable voice, presented with excellence. In a crowded marketplace a great voice can easily be lost or overlooked due to poor design or editing. As a reader I am distracted and even irritated by typos and bad grammar – and that means I’m not going to recommend that book to my friends and followers, nor am I likely to buy the author’s next book or project.What do you think is the benefit of hiring an outside editor to review an ebook for publishing? (As a side note, I'd love to know – did you hire an outside editor for your ebooks?)
I’m an editor. I’ve worked as a professional proofreader at an international ad agency. I’m a REAL NERD for grammar and spelling and style and punctuation. Yet, I can’t edit my own writing to save my life! Every writer needs a set of fresh eyes to help with the details and the big picture. You know what you meant to say, but the reader doesn’t. An editor will help you make sure that what you meant to say is what you actually said. And yes, I absolutely used an outside editor for my own ebook!What mistakes do you see people making the most often in ebooks that you as an editor can help prevent?
Commas and hyphens and capitalization, oh my! Seriously, punctuation isn’t just for nerds. Correct punctuation makes your book more easily and accurately read and understood. In the bigger picture I find a lot of writers unintentionally use weak writing, starting sentences and phrases with “empty” words like “there.” “There” doesn’t really mean much and most uses can be eliminated to make stronger, more compelling copy.How far in advance should ebook authors contact an editor and send them their manuscript for editing?
I suggest contacting an editor at least a month before you hope to launch, to make sure he or she has enough time to edit carefully and answer any questions as you make changes after editing. I typically like one week to work on a project, although rush projects happen, of course!