And why this is a Very Bad Thing …

There are self-publishing authors out there who take the publishing process seriously enough to pay – PAY – for a proofreader. Proofreaders are not cheap, but they are an essential part of the publishing process – can you imagine Hodder or Penguin sending a book to print without having it professionally proofed?

There are other self-publishing authors who don’t. Pay, that is. They still manage to get their books proofed though, but cleverly they get it done for free. How, you ask? What is this amazing tip which saves you at least £300 and puts you into profit so much sooner? It’s called publishing your book as it is and then asking readers to let you know if they find any errors.

These aren’t Beta readers, mind. These aren’t people participating voluntarily in a blogosphere community of reviews and comments. These are readers who have downloaded and paid for a book, and are, it’s reasonably safe to assume, expecting a book that has already been corrected of all but the tiniest and hardest to spot mistakes. (I say this as even after having my own book professionally proofread I found two minor errors on my gazillionth read-through. They can, and do, slip through the net – proofreaders are only human.)

These readers are not there to act as a free proofreading service. Yes, it’s lovely of them to let you know if they find an error, and of course, the nature of Kindle allows us to update and revise a book based on this feedback. But I would urge – Urge! – self-publishing authors to pay for a professional proofread before uploading their book. I know I won’t make many friends like this, and I know I keep harking on about it, but Come On Guys … Let’s make those mainstream publishers and booksellers sit up and take us seriously. By being as good as, if not better than, them.