Saturday, February 21, 2015

“5 Ways to Improve Your Author Image" by Kathy Ide

The buzz word in publishing is platform. But did you know that having mistakes in your manuscript can affect your reputation and platform?
Mechanical errors can give an unprofessional appearance to publishers and readers.
Even if your manuscript has already been accepted by a traditional publishing house, if their in-house editor has to spend all her time fixing your mistakes, she won’t be able to catch the deeper, more subtle nuances of your text. Besides, you won’t be presenting a very polished, professional image to your publisher.
Mechanical errors can be embarrassing.
A friend of mine once picked up a book at a bookstore and noticed a typo on the back cover. When she reported it to our critique group, she didn’t say she’d found a mistake on a book published by “XYZ Publishers.” She said she found the mistake on a “Jane Doe” novel. She didn’t connect the error to the publishing house but to the author.
Mechanical errors may cause readers to take you and your message less seriously.
I once saw a published article with this title: “Crowe Turns Hero to Help Snake Bite Boy.” The story was about actor Russell Crowe helping a boy who’d been bitten by a snake. But by spelling snakebite as two words, this sentence implies that Mr. Crowe helped a snake bite a boy! Now, I got a good laugh out of that. But I sure don’t want those kinds of mistakes showing up in my own writing.
Mechanical errors can affect the sales of your book.
Readers who find a lot of mistakes in your book will not be as likely to recommend that book to their friends. And who knows? You may have a high school English teacher reading your book, and she just might recommend it to her students . . . unless there are a lot of mistakes in it.
Mechanical errors can give you a poor reputation.
If you self-publish, or work with a small, independent publisher that doesn’t proofread carefully, your book may go out to the public with several typos, inconsistencies, or PUGS (punctuation, usage, or grammar) errors. Readers who catch those mistakes may consider you an amateur.
For a lot of avid readers, typos practically jump off the page. And many are familiar with the rules of punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling. If your reader knows the rules and you don’t, that’s not going to make you look very good.

If you have a hard time finding typos, inconsistencies, and “PUGS” errors in your writing, consider hiring a professional proofreader. A careful proofread might make a life-or-death difference for your manuscript.

Kathy Ide is a published author/ghostwriter, editor/mentor, and writers’ conference speaker. Her latest book is Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. To order, visit Kathy is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( and the Christian Editor Connection ( To find out more, visit


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  2. So true. A typo in a book bugs me. More than one typo makes me think the book and its publication were rushed.

    As a writer though, I do understand how easy it is to hit a wrong key while typing and not notice. Right, Natalie? ;)

    A pair of fresh eyes on your manuscript can be a life--er, booksaver.

  3. I totally agree with you, Courtney! :) I'm (silently) very critical of typos in published manuscripts, but I forget how easy it is to make those little mistakes in my own work!

    My hangup is, if the typo is in an e-book, I'm never sure whether to tell the author or leave it be. If it were my e-book and I had the capability of fixing the problem, I'd DEFINITELY want someone to let me know.


  4. Thanks for bringing us these great tips, Kathy!


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