4 Ways to Prevent Errors from Invading Your Books

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days now available. See details below.

We’ve all heard, “Hire an editor.” And I do. Here are four other things you can do to avoid errors in your book.

1. Check for typos in the changes you make during editing.

Sometimes deadlines make it easy for typos and other errors to creep into our stories. This happened to me. I had limited time to apply edits from my freelance editor before an indie novella was due for a collection. As I read the Kindle version, I was appalled to find eight typos. Eight! The errors have been corrected. Thank goodness. 

Most of the eight typos occurred when I was quickly making a change my editor had suggested. Really? I’d hired an editor to catch my typos along with grammar and story issues, then included typos in making the changes? 

You can be sure from now on, no matter how pressured I am, I will check twice for typos in the changes I make.

2. When receiving galleys ask at least one other person to read them for errors. The more the better.

My husband reads my galleys. We always find a typo the other doesn’t find, and sometimes we both miss one. 

Tell your editor about the typo you find after you’ve sent back galleys. I’ve done so, and my publisher has made the correction. 

For self-published books put on such publishing platforms as KDP, make corrections you or others find. You want readers to have an error free read.

If you’re a reader, letting authors know about typos you see, especially on a Kindle version, is usually appreciated. 

3. Don’t miss a comma, period, quotation mark, or single-letter edit among other more complicated edits in track changes.

If I’m not careful, I get wrapped up in what my editor has marked as wordy or awkward and miss that comma, period, or quotation mark she inserted. Also, don’t zip by that vertical line on the left margin in track changes that has no bubble message on the right side. It’s usually flagging something the editor has inserted.

4. Scan the final manuscript for word processor flagged words to catch the valid ones you’ve missed.

But don’t blindly accept the ones you question. Look up the spelling and grammar issues of words. For example, my word processor always calls for a comma after an opening so.

“Your copper hair complements your green eyes,” Mark said.

“So you think I’m pretty.” 

My word processor just flagged that so. But when sosignals a similarity or suggests logical continuity, no comma. This is usually the case.

I get so used to the red squiggles flagging the spelling of characters’ names, such as Jassie, that I fail to spot a valid warning. Now I add such names to the spelling and grammar dictionary so the processor doesn’t flag them. My possible errors stand out.

What tips do you have to help us produce an error-free book?


Buy Link

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is TYFMI30D-Print-5.75x8.89.jpeg

Zoe McCarthy’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. —Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  —Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! —Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author


Why Push Yourself to Write More Books?

image by geralt

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days is in online bookstores. Learn more at the end of the post.

You’ve probably heard, “The best marketing tool is to write more good books.” How can writing more books help you as an author? Here’s a list of reasons that may have potential for you. I hope you’ll add to the reasons in the comments.

Note that I said good books. You can hurt yourself by throwing books together and publishing them or pitching them to agents or acquisition editors.

Reasons to Write More Books


More Books for Credibility

1. Readers recognize you have experience in writing and may be more willing to take a risk on purchasing one of your books.

2. When you pitch a book to an agent or editor at a conference, your multiple books will show you’re serious about writing.

3. When you solicit events for speaking engagements, event planners may be more likely to show interest in you as an author.

More Books for Readers’ Comfort Level


4. Readers want to find authors to read again and again. When many see a cover that intrigues them, they’ll look inside or go online to see if the author has more books. If the author has only one book, many readers will pass and continue searching. 

image by fathi64

5. At a book signing, if you have several books on your table, you will come across as a seasoned author. Shoppers may feel more comfortable to stop by, browse, and chat. If you have one book they may think you’ll be desperate to sell.

6. If you write series, and they like the first they’ll most likely read more in your series. Series readers like to see the next book in the series already exists.

More Books for Marketing


7. If covers sell books, it’s better to have several on your online author page or at your book-signing table. If that first book’s cover doesn’t grab them then maybe another will. And after they like the one with the appealing cover, they may buy the other just for the story.

8. You can give a scene or chapter of your first book in the back of your second book to entice them to read the first.

9. The look and feel of your website may be improved. Your book page won’t look so lonely with one or two books.

10. You’ll have more behind-the-scenes stories and interesting research facts to share in talks and newsletters.

More Books for Your Personal Growth


11. You’ll have learned some lessons for making your books better and your marketing more effective.

12. You’ll find out if you’re a one-book author or have the stamina for more.

image by mohamed_hassan

13. You won’t let new story ideas languish until you’ve forgotten them or have lost interest.

14. If you’re a good writer writing good books, you won’t disappoint your readers.

What other reasons do you have for writing more books?


Buy Link

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is TYFMI30D-Print-5.75x8.89.jpeg

Zoe McCarthy’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. —Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  —Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! —Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author

Is My Story Idea Speculative Fiction?

kellepics

Like me, you may have an idea for a grabbing bizarre story but you’re not sure if it’s truly speculative fiction. Like me, you may not be sure what speculative fiction is. We’re not alone. When I read several articles, I also learned much debate surrounds what speculative fiction is or includes.

The definition changes over time as things and events that weren’t reality become reality.

Common Thoughts

·Speculative fiction is an umbrella genre.

·“What if” was mentioned in all the articles I read. The term meant a speculation beyond the normal “what ifs” found in other genres.

· The three most mentioned main genres under the umbrella are:

fantasy,

science fiction, and

horror, but 

arguments exist to get rid of any of these three.

Other Genres

Here’s a list of other genres or subgenres mentioned in more than one article:

JeffPrage

magic realism, utopian, dystopian,

alternative history, apocalyptic,

post-apocalyptic,

paranormal as in ghost stories,

superhero, science fantasy, 

weird tales, and urban fantasy.

<<>>

Possible Genres

These each showed up only once among the articles:

supernatural, cyberpunk, steampunk,

time travel, epic fantasy, soft fantasy,

space travel, creature, and surrealism.

Moving Forward

To answer my question, Is my story idea speculative fiction?, I found this helpful from Sherry D. Ramsey’s article “About Speculative Fiction”:

“On the other hand, your story probably IS what we consider speculative if any of the following are true:

Kiratguraya

* it takes place in the contemporary world but adds fantastic or speculative elements
* it takes place in a past that is different from what is generally accepted
* it includes aliens
* it includes faery, mythical creatures, or invented species/races
* it includes magic
* it explores future technology or alternate technology
* it takes an existing scientific fact and extrapolates it beyond what is known
* it takes place on another planet or world
* it takes place in the future
* it includes characters with actual paranormal abilities such as telepathy
* it includes supernatural occurrences for which no logical or scientific explanation exists”

Annie Neugebauer has a diagram in her article,“What is Speculative Fiction,” that helped me, The diagram show how fantasy, historical, science fiction, and horror can overlap into speculative fiction. In her explanations, she lists subgenres in the overlaps. It’s worth checking out.

Also helpful was the article, “The Elements of Speculative Fiction,” from the blog, “The Coffee Stained Writer.” The article suggests I take out the “fantastic element” and if my story falls apart it’s speculative fiction.

Do you write speculative fiction? If so, tell us why you call it speculative fiction?

Buy Link

Zoe McCarthy’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. —Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  —Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! —Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author