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First Book-Typos/proof reading

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Tim Bennett

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What did everyone do about editing and proof reading before submitting their first book? I've sent submissions to agents and keep my chin up regardless of the rejections received so far.
I very nearly paid for a proof reader/copy edit, but decided against it, preferring to adopt a 'keep it raw' approach. Unfortunately the two friends I asked to read the book never finished it, disappointing as that was, I still revised the first few chapters and felt happier afterwards. I have found typos in the work I submitted and wonder if I've blown it.
Perhaps I should still pay for a proof reader and get the writing polished as I realise some agents will reject less than perfect work. I'm trying my hardest to leave the book alone and wait for all responses to come in. I'm just feeling uncomfortable about no one but me having read the whole book. It's frustrating. I'd love to work with a professional editor and learn more about my new craft that way rather than get someone else to do it. Is that irational? I don't know.

I submitted when I did because, after two years of writing, I felt it was time to do so. I didn't want to lose momentum by letting it sit for more than two months, especially as the sequel started to inspire me. I tried to let go of being a perfectionist and throw caution to the wind...doh!
I think I understand (on finding the typos) the comment one agent made about not feeling enough conviction from me. All of the other rejections have been 'not on my list' which is better than 'you can't write'. I know I'll get my books out there, I've never believed in anything so much. Any feedback would be really welcome.​
 
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Katie-Ellen

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You need other people to read the whole thing. You need people who read a lot, and read the kind of thing you're writing, or who might read that kind of thing. People who trust to give you the worst news, and you have to allow it. It's frightening after so long holed up with it alone, but it has to be done. First you need to know how they feel about the story, do they feel it's got legs? I asked people I know who read a lot to read the first draft, took a basting from some quarters, sat on the feedback some months then started draft 2. I wanted to know what the problems were, but not the solutions. I needed to work those out myself. People here on Litopia helped me with the first chapter of draft four. A few very generous beta readers helped flag up weak points and typos. No-one can do all that completely on their own. I would pay for the right help , I might still, but I would want a copy editor's inputs before I wanted a line editor's. The typos are the last problem to fix, I'd say. Others might say differently.
 
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Tim Bennett

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@Katie-Ellen Hazeldine, thank you. Did you just post a request on the forum for someone to read the first chapter?

You need other people to read the whole thing. You need people who read a lot, and read the kind of thing you're writing, or who might read that kind of thing. It's frightening after so long holed up with it alone, but it has to be done. First you need to know how they feel about the story, do they feel it's got legs? I asked people I know who read a lot to read the first draft, took a basting from some quarters, sat on the feedback some months then started draft 2. I wanted to know what the problems were, but not the solutions. I needed to work those out myself. People here on Litopia helped me with the first chapter of draft four. A few very generous beta readers helped flag up weak points and typos. No-one can do all that completely on their own. I would pay for the right help , I might still, but I would want a copy editor's inputs before I wanted a line editor's. The typos are the last problem to fix, I'd say. Others might say differently.
 

Katie-Ellen

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No. It's a while back, Tim. Correct me if I'm not remembering this correctly, others who were active here at that time, Litopia had a House or thread or a section going on inviting members to post novel openings. I think Peter may be planning on re- activating the Houses once membership and activity builds back to a certain point on the new look Litopia.
 
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Tim Bennett

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No. It's a while back, Tim. Correct me if I'm not remembering this correctly, others who were active here at that time, Litopia had a House or thread or a section going on inviting members to post novel openings. I think Peter may be planning on re- activating the Houses once membership and activity builds back to a certain point on the new look Litopia.
Cool. Many thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

AliG

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Paying buys objectivity; not possible with your own stuff- or even for your mother/best friend. If you have no beta readers then buy in. I have used Cornerstones who were terrific.
 
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Tim Bennett

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Paying buys objectivity; not possible with your own stuff- or even for your mother/best friend. If you have no beta readers then buy in. I have used Cornerstones who were terrific.
Thankyou.
 
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Alistair Roberts

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Sat on it for two years? I'd go crazy, and in those two years I've written 6 novels of about 100,000 words each. But it is important to get feedback and edit and edit. Each of my first 3 novels I've edited 7-8 times each, and from what I've read this is perfectly normal. I've had positive feedback from readers although probably only 6 have read all of the first one and about 3 the second one. I also had tips from another author which helped a lot.
All I can suggest is the importance of getting feedback and doing lots of editing. My partner proof reads them also and then I edit, and then edit again!!
 
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Tim Bennett

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Thanks Alistair, no it took me about two years to write, 5 months into the writing I became a Dad for the first time so my whole world changed and I still had to keep focused on the book, which was challenging to say the least, but achievable. I take your point about editing, the Colony is already proving to be very useful. Thankyou for your response bud.

Sat on it for two years? I'd go crazy, and in those two years I've written 6 novels of about 100,000 words each. But it is important to get feedback and edit and edit. Each of my first 3 novels I've edited 7-8 times each, and from what I've read this is perfectly normal. I've had positive feedback from readers although probably only 6 have read all of the first one and about 3 the second one. I also had tips from another author which helped a lot.
All I can suggest is the importance of getting feedback and doing lots of editing. My partner proof reads them also and then I edit, and then edit again!!
 

1408

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Space between editing is what helped me, and an excellent (but bloody demanding!) reader. Putting it aside for a couple of weeks and then reading it again and seeing if what you thought you'd put in the book is really in there, or if what you're reading in the story is just because you wrote the book. I was too subtle in my first draft, and that led to more questions than answers. So, even though to me things felt obvious, I had to state it in later drafts. It was a learning curve. :D

Did your friends give reasons for not finishing the book?
 
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Tim Bennett

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Thanks for this. Yeah, I' d completed three edits, with varying gaps before rewriting. The story is based on my own recovery from addiction so it was fairly easy to be clear about things, although challenging to delve into emotions etc from that time several years ago.
The main piece of feedback I was hoping for was from a close friend I went through rehab with, he's also written a book and ran creative writing classes, but no, he couldn't say why and I felt let down to say the least as I didn't hassle him for nearly 3 months and he'd only got to the fourth chapter, so Cornerstones could be an option depending on what other feedback I get.

Space between editing is what helped me, and an excellent (but bloody demanding!) reader. Putting it aside for a couple of weeks and then reading it again and seeing if what you thought you'd put in the book is really in there, or if what you're reading in the story is just because you wrote the book. I was too subtle in my first draft, and that led to more questions than answers. So, even though to me things felt obvious, I had to state it in later drafts. It was a learning curve. :D

Did your friends give reasons for not finishing the book?
 

1408

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@Tim Bennett I can see why you felt let down. To be honest, even if he'd said he stopped reading for a negative reason at least you might be able to pin point what wasn't working. Have you had a look at chapters three and four to see if maybe there is a point where it starts to drag? It's irritating because it could be as simple as he just didn't have time, but it's easy to fixate on the why! I don't know Cornerstones but I hope they're helpful. :) Roll on the Houses, eh! :D
 
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Tim Bennett

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Paying buys objectivity; not possible with your own stuff- or even for your mother/best friend. If you have no beta readers then buy in. I have used Cornerstones who were terrific.
Thanks again for the Cornerstones idea. I'm on board with them now, going for the Consultancy option...feels like the right decision, quite relieved.
 
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K.J. Simmill

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I enlisted the aid of some beta readers, some I knew others I didn't with my word count the price for a professional editor was greater than £5000
I found it best to work like this
Edit and revise
When you think it is done put it aside a few months
Edit and revise you will be surprised what you missed
Alpha reader - generally people that owe you favours
Then edit again.
Then leave it a month
Edit chapters in a random order so the story familiarity doesn't cause you to over look things
Leave it again for at least a week
Read through again, perhaps trial or do a month subscription to software like grammarly or white smoke
Beta readers
Accept feedback, revise and edit

I find the breaks in editing essential to stop you reading what you think the work should say instead of what it does.
I spent the best part of 12 months editing my work, if I could afford I would pay someone, but it just isn't in my price range so this is what works for me :)
I hope this helps
 
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K.J. Simmill

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I forgot to mention. Don't forget you can get a few types of editors those who look solely at grammar and spelling and those who will also help with plot and revisions :)
 
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Tim Bennett

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I forgot to mention. Don't forget you can get a few types of editors those who look solely at grammar and spelling and those who will also help with plot and revisions :)
Thanks K.J.
I've just signed up with Cornerstones for a Consultancy Report, it includes an hour and a half 1:1 brainstorming with the editor after receiving the report.
 
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Dudley

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Couple of rules or axioms to live by...or at least to consider: One: Ignore whatever comment you might get from an agent or editor or whomever rejects your stuff. Trying to glean any sense or meaning from a one or two sentence comment will drive you crazy. A rejection is a rejection and it's the same whether they commented or not.

Second, pay to have it proof read or copy edited. It's worth the cash. Even if you sefl publish you wonlt get many repeate readers for your next masterpeice if the first oen reads liek this post.
 
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Kelly Michelle Baker

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There is no right or wrong way, but you will definitely need additional readers. First, read the manuscript yourself several times to ensure you've covered all the key points. Then enlist friends who enjoy the genre to look it over. This can be tough, as it puts someone in an obligatory position to read your book (which can be no small task...I HATE doing this to people.... it's partly why I'm such a terrible marketer, haha.). So choose wisely! As for paying for an editor, I personally didn't do it because of the expense. In my experience (and JUST my experience), if you can get critical and honest readers, you are going to get good feedback.
 
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Tim Bennett

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Lol.
Couple of rules or axioms to live by...or at least to consider: One: Ignore whatever comment you might get from an agent or editor or whomever rejects your stuff. Trying to glean any sense or meaning from a one or two sentence comment will drive you crazy. A rejection is a rejection and it's the same whether they commented or not.

Second, pay to have it proof read or copy edited. It's worth the cash. Even if you sefl publish you wonlt get many repeate readers for your next masterpeice if the first oen reads liek this post.

Lol...Thanks Dudkey
 
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Tim Bennett

Guest
There is no right or wrong way, but you will definitely need additional readers. First, read the manuscript yourself several times to ensure you've covered all the key points. Then enlist friends who enjoy the genre to look it over. This can be tough, as it puts someone in an obligatory position to read your book (which can be no small task...I HATE doing this to people.... it's partly why I'm such a terrible marketer, haha.). So choose wisely! As for paying for an editor, I personally didn't do it because of the expense. In my experience (and JUST my experience), if you can get critical and honest readers, you are going to get good feedback.
Thanks Kelly. I think £360 for the Cornerstones report is reasonable considering my personal situation. I have another reader in mind who offered to read the current draft, so I can call on him when the time is right again.
 
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