If it takes a village to raise a child, then what does it take to produce a well-crafted book? A lot of eager hands and eagle eyes. If a writer is serious about their craft, they will seek out professionals to put some serious polish on their books.
I work with a few different individuals at various stages of my book-in-the-making.
First up is my editor. Once I’m sure my manuscript is at the final draft stage, I typeset a copy in novel format and print it on Lulu then hand it over for some story edits. I’m fortunate that my hubby, writer and poet Joseph Robert, is also my brilliant editor. He isn’t afraid to give my books the red pen treatment and catches any plot-point problems or character arc issues that need fixed along the way.
Once the story edits are finalised, I make the amendments to the typeset copy then print another version for my proofreader, Heather. Nothing slips past her. She catches everything from punctuation errors to typos as well as formatting hiccups. Heather reads through my books three times and highlights all mistakes, catching pretty much everything. I’ve worked with her since The Buddha’s Bone. Gone are the days when I cringed when spotting a typo in a published book and had to hastily issue an updated version.
My beta readers are invaluable for giving early stage feedback on my books. After I’ve finished making all of Heather’s suggested changes, I then print two more proof copies for Amy and Ellen, my beta readers. I usually stick a post-it note of questions in the back, including things such as:
1. Are there any trigger warnings I should include/make readers aware of?
2. What would you say the primary genre is between ghost horror/psychological fiction, etc? (This helps me to decide categories when publishing on KDP/Ingramspark).
ARC readers and book bloggers
I have a small pool of regular readers who are willing to read my books in exchange for a free copy. Kendra and Jeanne are my regular ARC readers and Laura (The Bookish Hermit), Hannah (Hannah May Book Reviews) and Stacey (Whispering Stories) have reviewed several of my books as Book Bloggers giving an honest opinion in exchange for a free copy.