Cynthia works at Wichita State University having also graduated from there. She kindly agreed to supply a guest post on a subject that all aspiring authors should take very seriously.
Making a Great First Impression - Literally If you’ve been reading the reviews for self-published authors, you’ll notice a similarity among the negative ones. Over and over, it seems to come down to grammar and punctuation. Reviews occasionally even ignore the actual story –plot, characters, setting, and all— to instead focus on glaring errors in syntax. After the ridicule, often including grammar, reviewers frequently take potshots at the intelligence of the author. Granted, some of this criticism may just be sour grapes, but this automatic assumption that poor grammar equals idiocy is not at all uncommon.
From blogging to Facebook, the proliferation of online writing has resulted in a casual, conversational style. This means that proper grammar and syntax is occasionally left by the wayside as writers attempt to imitate the way that people really speak. Is this a bad thing? Well, that’s debatable. What isn’t debatable is that an excess of common grammatical mistakes littered throughout a manuscript detracts from a writer’s credibility. Even when the manuscript itself shows obvious creative promise, there are few able to squint past the poor presentation.
Why don’t self-published authors take the time to get their work proofread then? Simple. It’s a question of money. It’s difficult to find a qualified editor who is willing to take reduced fees on a book that is priced so inexpensively that the author must sell a good many of them in order to have significant revenue. I believe there’s also a sneaky thought that the quality of the writing will shine through any holes in syntax and shortcomings in punctuation and spelling. The reality is that readers usually only give an author one chance, and the grammar and syntax of a work is much like the visual impression one makes in a face-to-face job interview. Grammar, in this sense, is very much the professionally dressed exterior and firm-but-not-too-firm handshake of any literary endeavor.
The need for proper grammar and punctuation cannot be too strongly stressed in the work of new authors. I’ve seen so many self-published works dismissed in scathing reviews. These reviewers have a point. Why should they trust an author with their time and money if the author contradicts his or her right to credibility with every incorrectly spelled word and inaccurate use of the apostrophe, ellipsis, and dash?
I do not propose to just point out a problem, however. I wish to offer a potential solution to aspiring and established authors. As an inexhaustible reader of fiction and occasional writer, I have a passion for helping authors achieve their literary vision. I’ve worked with a couple of aspiring children’s book authors, as well as numerous editing work, and I take pleasure not only in adjusting grammatical errors, but most importantly in ensuring the author’s unique voice emerges from the piece.
There are too many self-published works that are dismissed or denied respect simply because of a lack of proofreading. It’s important for authors to make the best literary first impression they can; proofreading is an essential step of this process.For an electronic resume, pricing, and payment options, I can be contacted at:
Once again it's time to meet some authors in various stages of their development. Some have already completed their books, some are engaged in the process of writing while others are mentally preparing to take the plunge and get started. Cynthia's post is a timely reminder to us all.
Please take the time to visit the websites and blogs and Twitter accounts of this determined and talented group.
You now have Cynthia's contact details if you want help with the essential stage of proofreading and editing.
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For those of you who haven't started and are waiting for inspiration you will have to wait a long time. Perspiration precedes inspiration.
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Competitions To Cut Your Teeth On.