Writing is an art, no question. But if you want to share it with the world, there are some things you necessarily should think about. I am not talking getting “past” any “gatekeepers” or following some sort of “prescription.”
I’m talking about making it easy on your audience to read your story. Having a story tell tell, or characters you love, isn’t going to be any good if your reader can’t get into the story because your use of grammar, punctuation, or confused word choice makes it hard work to actually read.
People asked me to do more reviews in my blog. There’s a reason I don’t. I actually read quite a lot, but many stories end up DNF – did not finish. And since I can’t finish them, I’m sure not going to tell everyone else about them. I’m not going to recommend a book where I had to stop every paragraph and replace words in my head because the author used a near-sounding word or a homophone. When I have to “edit” just to get through, that’s work. That’s not pleasure. That’s not enjoying a book. That’s not pleasure reading.
So, please, please, this is a plea from a reader. Even if you can’t pay an editor, get in a writer’s group where someone else looks at your stories critically first. There are many editors out there as well, and most are quite reasonable. A little investment up front will go a long way toward improving your sales, so you’ll make the money back in the end.
I saw one person melt down because their book got a “couldn’t get through this for all the errors” 1-star reviews. I suggested an editor because the 1-star review will have an impact on his sales. He whined that he shouldn’t have to change for a stupid reader. With that attitude he won’t have any readers, IMHO. People in general don’t appreciate being called “stupid.”
If you can’t handle criticism, then you shouldn’t be publishing. Go ahead and write, but don’t publish, because seriously. Most people will be like me, quietly return the book and not review. Others will return the book AND leave an honest 1-star “this sucked for all the errors” review. Which will kill your future sales as well as make you upset and angry, and you don’t really have to suffer like that. Just get an editor.
PS – I do want to point out I’m a quite reasonable editor and experienced. I’m never out to change your story, just make it readable. Check out my rates and an explanation of my services, then drop me a message and we’ll talk.