If you have type O, you are more likely to get ulcers — and believe it or not, to rupture your Achilles tendons. You are also at higher risk of cholera.
The good news is that people with type O blood are at a lower risk for pancreatic cancer and face a lower risk of dying from malaria than people with other blood groups; that said, if you have type O, you are twice as likely to be a mosquito magnet than those with type A blood….”
…but don’t worry, we’re not going to be talking about “type O’s” today. We’re actually going to be talking about “typos.” The funny, the horrible, and the scary. If you’re a writer, (of any sort) you know all about the horror of typos. As an author, one of the most frequent questions I hear is usually along the lines of editing. Some people don't have the money to hire a professional editor, while others hire one, but want to do some of the editing themselves.
So, without further ado:
The inevitable and unavoidable:
Every book is going to have a few typos. It’s almost impossible to catch everything. But, if your book has too many typos, it could come across as amateur to professionals, agents, and publishers. According to one traditional publisher’s opinion, they are comfortable with a book that has 3 typos in every 10,000 words. Some may be more lenient, and others more stringent. However, it’s up to us, (and our editors and proofreaders) to do our best to keep typos free from the pages of our stories.
Here are a few tips that I’ve found to be helpful:
- Read your book Don’t just read it once, but read it over and over again. Before I send a manuscript off to be printed, I’ll have personally read the book at least ten times. Read it until you’re practically sick of it, (which unfortunately happens far too often with authors). Read it until you can read it through without finding a single typo.
- Text to Speech If you’re using Microsoft Word, then you’ll have the option to use Text to Speech, an add-on that allows a computerized voice to read aloud your manuscript. This is a must have for all authors who do most of the editing themselves! It’s amazing how the brain works to fill in gaps that weren’t there before. For instance, my program of Microsoft Word will let me know if there’s a repeated word, but some of the older programs don’t. Because of this, the Text to Speech option will allow you to hear the repeated word, which most times your brain skips over, resulting in one less typo in your story. Beware though, the computerized voice has the most monotone, boring, inflection (if you can even call it an inflection) that you’ll ever hear! But, if it saves me from having typos in my story, then it’s definitely worth it!
I use Text to Speech for everything! Emails, messages, blog posts, etc... the possibilities are endless. Just type, or copy and paste your text into Microsoft Word and click the icon for Text to Speech (sometimes known as Speak Selected Text). You’ll be amazed at what your brain can miss!
Enabling the Text to Speech option in Microsoft Word:
3. Proofreaders If you live in a big family, you’ll most likely already know that your family will be your best proofreaders. They know you the best, and they will be able to give not only comments on editing, but also story line critiques as well. My family is always the first proofreaders I enlist before sending proofs off to members outside the family. Having a set of proofreaders outside your family is one of the best things an author can do! They notice things you’ve never noticed before, and if you’re blessed to have wonderful proofreaders like I do, they will have really good tips and advice as well. Of course, if you’re planning on hiring a professional editor, you might not find this step necessary. But I, myself hire a professional, and enlist the help of other proofreaders. This can also give you a chance to get reviews from your proofreaders to put in your book.
"...the trim was painted a lovey shade of pink."
(page 32 of, A Higher Ransom)
Did you notice it?
The word "lovey" should have been "lovely."
And this is where one missing letter REALLY changed the scene!
"...he held her tongue as the bigger man shoved her back into the corner."
(page 260 of, A Dim Reflection)
Did you notice that one?
The word "he" should have been "she."
Above all, have fun!
Editing your book is hard work, but it can also be enjoyable! The tips above help me out greatly as I travel along the writing journey, and I hope they will help you out as well!
If you ever have any questions about editing, self-publishing, or just about writing in general, feel free to contact me. I love to hear from my readers!
Do you have a favorite editing hack or a funny sentence when one word made all the difference? Let me know about it in the comments!