Self-Publishing & SmartEdit

The new respectability that is becoming attached to self-publishing on platforms such as Amazon’s KDP and Createspace is forever changing the publishing and writing industries. How it all ends up in five or ten years is still anybody’s guess.

My feeling is that we are at the very early stages of something new; that publishing and writing are about to be taken out of the hands of large corporations and gatekeepers, and placed firmly in the hands of individual writers and their readers. But this comes with a cost. While the sheer volume of good published writing is sure to increase enormously, so too will the amount of poorly written and poorly edited books.

This is already happening, especially in lucrative genres such as Romance and Erotica, where trying out a new author who has self-published a first or second book can lead to disappointment. You are often left feeling that the editing process has been skipped entirely, and that what you find yourself paying money for is little more than a first draft. Grammatical mistakes and poor sentence structure in the first chapter (sometimes even in the free sample), plot holes and clumsy prose on every second page, characters who change name halfway through a novel. None of this is uncommon in self-published work.

Where does SmartEdit come into all this?

It helps writers make a start on the editing process. For many writers, especially new writers who have just finished a first draft of their first novel, editing is a daunting task. Is it necessary? How much do I need to edit? Do I need a professional editor? How much do editors cost? Where do I start? All these questions are racing around in their minds.

SmartEdit answers the Where do I start? question. It runs a series of checks on a novel, looking for common mistakes and for areas that might need to be looked at in detail by the writer. The full results of SmartEdit’s checks can provide a writer with hundreds or thousands of possible areas for improvement in their novel. The writer can then spend days or weeks going through the results and making whatever changes they deem necessary.

The result: a tighter, leaner work, with fewer obvious mistakes and cringe worthy moments from readers.

But the process does not end there. The writer is not ready to publish just yet. SmartEdit is a first-pass editing tool. The novel still needs to be sent to a professional editor for fine tuning and to catch mistakes that automated software cannot catch.

So why use SmartEdit at all?

Editors cost money. And where once, that cost was borne by the publisher, for self-published writers the cost is theirs alone. Good editors charge varying rates based on a sample of the writer’s work. If there’s a lot of work to be done on a poorly edited manuscript, the cost goes up. If the work involves few obvious errors (the kind that SmartEdit helps identify), the cost often comes down.

SmartEdit should pay for itself when used on a single short story.

But cost is not the only reason to use SmartEdit. It helps writers improve their skills, helps them to identify mistakes that they make over and over: an embarrassing fondness for a particular adverb or dialog tag, a propensity to begin too many sentences in the same way, an over use of excessive punctuation when things get exciting.

The shift towards a respectable form of self-publishing and the sheer volume of writers who are embracing it has helped SmartEdit gain fast acceptance into the tool boxes of many writers. It can help you too.

24 May 2013