I am that woman who will inbox my blogger and author friends and tell them I found an error. It isn’t to be picky but because errors distract and make it more difficult for readers to connect with your work. First impressions still count and too many errors frustrate me, and I may or may not finish the book. As many authors today self-publish and print on-demand, it is much easier to fix errors on the fly. It is even easier if you’re a blogger or your book is digital as changes can be made almost instantly.
So, I was most disturbed to find not one, not two, but more errors that I dare to confess in my first novel Love’s Sweet Joy, almost one year after it was released. Had it been edited? Yes, and I was happy with the story and the finished product. My readers clearly were too as they raved about the book, but no one said, “I found an error”, except one friend. Thanks to my sister who clearly is as anal as I am about writing, (chalk that up to having a mother who was a primary school teacher) I was able to fix a few wrongs. She did not hesitate to mark up pages of her ebook to show me the error of my ways. I was disappointed that I had to make numerous corrections and yet very relieved that I could improve on the final product.
Finally, someone was telling me the truth and not merely saying “it was great.” It took her two days to read the book due to other commitments. Back in the day (before children) a novel or two or three was nothing to read in a day. She helped me make my book truly great and hopefully now error-free. My sister also validated my work and my efforts to honor some elements of our childhood in the places and foods I wove into the story. She remarked that it was a beautiful way to honor my parents.
Beta readers are now going to be a part of my editing process going forward. These readers don’t need to be my friend or a relative but they must be willing to give me honest feedback on the storyline and also help catch those errors that an author totally misses after the tenth time of seeing reading their manuscript.
I enjoy reading and I always spot the errors in books and I would hate for people to find an endless supply of errors in mine. Do you use beta readers? What is the process you use to make sure your books are reader ready?
Nerissa Golden is the editor of Montserrat’s top digital travel and information platform Discover Montserrat.
The former journalist and international speaker is the author of seven books. In 2017, she released the first two novels in the Return to Love series of romantic fiction, set in her picturesque homeland. Follow her on nerissagolden.com or @trulynerissa on Twitter.