On Self-Editing: A Cautionary Tale

by Annie Daylon

Mistakes, I’ve made a few… Are the few worth mentioning? Yes, if mentioning reinforces the lesson and helps other writers. 

Recently, one of my novels was launched into the world with editing errors. The reason for this? My contract with an editor fell through (these things happen). In an attempt to meet my self-imposed deadline and in the absence of a ready-made alternative, I decided to save money by self-editing.  Warning: Don’t do that!

Please note that I am not speaking of content editing here; my content editor was fantastic. I’m talking about proof-reading. I am an avid reader. I am schooled in grammar. Still I messed up. Why?  Perhaps because, knowing the intent of my own words, I just I slid right over the typos toward the expected outcome. 

When, in an aftermarket read, I noted a couple of errors, I sat with them for a while. Do I edit or not? Self-publishing is expensive; authors don’t make a lot of money per book. It was not until the book was purchased by the library that I jumped in to edit mode.

I edited once. Cost $79 (that’s $100 Canadian.) When I read the revised proof, I noticed that I had omitted a word.  

I edited the whole thing again. Another $100. When the proof came back this time, I found one sentence in which I had inadvertently added a word, a tiny, three-letter word.

I asked the lady at Create Space if it would cost me another $100 to remove that word.

“Yes, Ma’am,” she replied.

I said “Stet,” writer speak for let it stand.

When I am about to release Book II of this series, I will go back and give Book I another sweep or, better yet, hire someone to do it for me.

Work In Progress Badge

I have ( and am) a Work in Progress. Sigh.

As for my work-in-progress thriller, I’m NOT editing it myself.

Dear Readers, my apologies. 

Dear Writers, hire proof-readers.

Dear Everyone, If you notice any mistakes herein, drop a line in the comments. I’ll edit. Guaranteed!

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My best to  you,

Annie Signature Light Blue