Preorders and the Importance of Professional Proofreaders

I’ve unpublished Little Weapon from all the stores right after my first reader alerted me of some editing errors and typos. I think I can forgive myself for a couple of errors in an 82k word novel, but anything more than 2 is too much.

I should have dived right into it to comb through the books and sieve out everything, but I decided to give myself a break.

Firstly, I’m sick of looking at that story. I’ve looked at it so many times, I no longer have the patience to read it. It’s why I’ve missed out incomplete sentences and glaring typos like cancelled words. It hasn’t gone through a professional proofreader yet because I don’t have the budget for it. I thought I’d do it later. I thought maybe my ARC readers and beta readers would pick them out, they either missed it, or they haven’t read my book yet.

All these, stemmed from the tight deadline I’ve given myself. So I’m owning my mistakes and rectifying them.

  1. I’ve cancelled all my preorders for the other two books.

    Because I know that even if I could meet the deadline, it’ll be a rush job, and end up like this book. I’m not going to let that happen again. This mistake is painful enough. I’ve given my editor more time to take a second look at my edited script and input his comments. He’s done a great job with my first draft and given me really good suggestions. I’ve taken all of them and edited my script. I don’t think there’ll be any major changes to the second script I’ve sent him, that’s why I was confident in publishing it. I also didn’t think there’ll be much typos too since he has picked out most of them in the first round.

    That led to my second mistake.
  2. Not hiring a professional proofreader

    I have a few people helping me go through my stuff before I loaded it up. None of them picked out those errors. Of course I’m not going to ask the people who were helping me for free ‘Why didn’t you pick out those errors?’, but I did ask my son, who was also doing the reading for me. Mind you, those were not grammatical errors. It was couple of sentences that were cut off midway, and stuff like that. Shouldn’t be hard for a 13 year old to pick up.
    In his defense, he said he was too caught up with the story that he read really fast. It sounds a lot like me when I read. It’s why I could never catch the errors of the books I read while the others could. Like few of my favorite authors had their books reported for quality, and I was baffled because I couldn’t find a single typo at all.

    Professional proofreaders have their way of handling it. That’s why they charge. That’s why they are pro. Shame on me, because I should have known better. It’s like someone telling me, “I don’t need to pay you so much to teach my kid how to spell. I can teach spelling myself.”

    Anyone can teach any kid spelling, but only trained professionals like me can ensure that the kid not only knows how to spell those words from the spelling list, but also those not from the list, and at the same time, remember the words that were from the spelling lists from two months ago.

    So yes, don’t be cheap like me. Pay for a professional proofreader. I was told some typos are so sneaky they will escape even two or three professionals.
  3. Not respecting my mental state of health

    I would say I fall under the category of ‘strong people’ – meaning those who know me think I can take a lot of shit and not get overwhelmed even in the most challenging circumstances.

    They are right. I am strong.

    But creativity isn’t something that can be forced. I’m inexperienced in this field, so I keep thinking that I could just force myself to get on with it. I can’t. The ideas are not coming, the words are not flowing. On top of this, I have a full time day job. I work 8 hours on weekdays and 10 hours on Saturdays. I am also a mother of 4.

    In this case, being strong or not has got nothing to do with it. I’m stretched, I’m stressed out by the pre-order deadlines, and I didn’t have enough time to save up for my production cost of the book. I’m also worried about the editing cost of my next book, which I had intended to roll out in November if I followed my deadline and all.

    No. I recognized my mistake and I put a stop to it. I won’t stress out my editor and proofreader this way. I will also give myself ample time to save up for the editing and proofreading. Note that all these do not include advertising. So I could have decent book which less than 20 people buy and probably only 5 of them who reads. I don’t have that many readers, and those few I know who read my stuff won’t mind the wait.

Oh by the way, I finally got a reply from the publicity guy’s assistant. She said he’s so overwhelmed with customers that he’s swamped. According to her, he’ll get back to me the very first instant he’s available. That sounds like piss poor planning. I am contemplating demanding a refund but I’m worried that I might not get it, he might anyhow just set up something to pacify me, etc etc.

So, lesson learned. If you are approached by a publicity company and you’re not sure if it’s the one I’m talking about, reach out to me. I’m more than happy to share more details of my experience.

So for now I’m going to take a short break, wait for my editor to send me my final edits back, finish that damn book properly, send it to a proofreader, then publish it.

But it’ll be 4.99 then. Heh.

Meanwhile, I’m going to watch some Netflix to clear my mind and hopefully, get inspired for Serpent Uncovered. In a way, it’ll be related, cos the General of the Army of Ten Thousands will be gardening and farming.

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