Monday, April 16, 2018

Editing for Indies

When you start out writing you have the world at your fingertips. You, and you alone, decide what happens in your world and then you finish your book.

What comes next?

Your masterpiece is ready to face the world. Where do you begin? You do a little research and the whole process starts to snowball.

  • Do I need an editor?
  • What's a beta-reader?
  • Who will proofread my book?
  • How do I layout the book?
  • Are the digital and paperback formats the same?
  • Where can I find artwork or photographs for my book cover?
  • Who will do my book cover for me?
  • Where do I sell my book?
  • What's a blurb?
  • How do I even begin to market my book?


The answers to all these (and many more!) questions are to be found online. All the major online booksellers have excellent help pages and if you are prepared to wade through these, you will be able to get your masterpiece into your hands without having to spend a lot of money.


After you have uploaded your masterpiece, you will most likely sit and watch the sales graphs - or as many new indie authors call them, the no-sales graphs - hoping that your book will suddenly take off and hit the bestseller lists.

What do you have to do to get the money to start rolling in?

  • Increase your book's visibility - social media, blogs, advertising
  • Tweak your book description - identify your readers and make sure your description fulfils their needs
  • Make sure your book cover is the best it can be
  • Research your tags to gain maximum exposure
  • Ensure that your book is in an appropriate category and sub-category
  • Ask for reviews
There are many other ways to help kick-start your book sales. Research - and lots of it - will help you get your marketing campaign up and running.

Keep up the marketing! There is so much competition out there that it is essential to keep coming up with fresh ideas.

It is possible to go it alone and if you are willing to put in the effort it can prove rewarding.


If you find the process overwhelming and would like some help and advice drop me an email and I will be happy to talk to you about ways I can help - without breaking the bank!

Kim O'Shea

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Don't murder your prose!

As authors we aim to write great content that is easy to understand, clear, and grabs and holds attention. Sometimes our language lets us down and instead of exciting, attention-grabbing words, we use plain, boring and uninteresting ones - simply because we are used to using them.

Bad language

The main language killers are those modifying words: adverbs and adjectives. Instead of improving our writing, they can deaden it and make it boring and dull.

He ran quickly down the hill.

Ok, so he ran quickly down the hill. Right.
But, what if:

He raced down the hill.
He sped down the hill.

Now, we can feel the action.

How about . . . ?

Peter looked at her lovingly.

Sounds ok? He looked at her lovingly. Boring!

What if:

Peter gazed into her eyes.
Peter reached for her hand as he looked at her.

Now we can see his love for her without being told. Much more romantic!

The little word very can cause problems too.

Mary was very tired.
But, what if, Mary was exhausted? Or Mary was weary.

The elephant was very big.
Or, was the elephant huge, enormous, massive?

Always check your writing for words such as these. A simple change is all it takes. It can make your readers want to turn the pages, want to find out what's coming next and want to read your next book.

A trifling change can make an enormous difference!

For a free quote for editing or proofreading contact me

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Common Errors

There are many common errors to watch out for when editing or proofreading. The following list covers four of them;
  • Transposition
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Wrong meaning


This happens when letters are transposed or swapped around in a word;
  • from / form
  • cat / act
  • Wedensday / Wednesday
  • public / pulbic
The first two errors can only be found through careful reading of the document as the incorrect versions are still words and will pass the spell checker.

The last two mistakes are easier to find as any good spell checker will immediately pick them up.


These are too numerous to mention here in detail, however, four of the most common problems are;
  • their, there, they're
  • its, it's
  • plurals of nouns (apostrophes are for the possessive case NOT plurals)
  • passive voice.
For the correct use of the first two sets of items, consult a grammar book or online resource.

Plurals of most nouns are formed by adding s NOT 's.

The passive voice should be used sparingly - it does have its uses.

Passive - 'The boy was bitten by the dog, Active - ' 'The dog bit the boy.'

The active voice can
  • remove doubt
  • move the action along
  • create tension
  • keep the reader engaged.


There are always words that catch us out. Make a list of the words you find you have trouble with, time and again.

  • separate / seperate
  • millennium / milennium
  • licence / license
  • current / currant
The spell checker will catch the first two but the second two are spelled correctly but may not be what is meant - a current bun means a bun that is fresh or up to date, while a currant report means a report on a currant!

Wrong meaning

If you are in doubt, check the definition!
  • illusion / allusion
  • effect / affect
  • ingenuous / ingenious
  • uninterested / disinterested
There are many words similar to these. Make lists of the ones that give you trouble.

Editing and proofreading are skills that can be learned but if you don't have the time, give me an email for a free quote

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Indie Authors - Do you want to sell more books?

For as long as I can remember I have been a voracious reader. I love reading and have been known to read the back of a packet of cereal.

As an author myself, I know the work that goes into your 'baby'. Unfortunately, there is one thing that will ruin my enjoyment and that is a badly edited book.

Poor grammar, misspelled words, bad formatting and incorrect facts will guarantee that I will not leave a favourable review. That doesn't mean that I will leave a bad review, just that I would prefer not to bother at all just like the author didn't bother to make sure that the book was the best it could be.

If I come across a poorly edited book, I never read anything else by that author.

I have read many books with wonderful storylines and great characters but because of the errors and formatting issues, I have been very disappointed and would certainly never recommend them to my friends.

We all make mistakes. Typos and small errors slip through. These are forgivable and, while jarring, do not ruin the whole book. What I am talking about are the books that are obviously labours of love but, at the last hurdle, are consigned to the 'do not read' file.


Nobody wants to struggle through a badly written book - no matter how great the idea - books like these will never gain a following for their authors and will never reach their full potential or achieve solid sales.

How to write books that sell
  • Decide on your genre
  • Research
  • Write
  • Rewrite
  • Edit
  • Rewrite
  • Proofread
  • Publish

While in reality nothing is ever that simple, it is true that skipping the editing and proofreading stages will have a detrimental effect on your sales.

Become a bestselling author

Write the best book you can.
Polish the book until it is perfect.
Put your marketing in place.
Publish and watch your five-star reviews come in and your sales start to rise.

Kick-start your sales! contact me for a free quote.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Biggest Turn-Off

With companies and businesses turning away from traditional advertising and turning towards social media advertising, the risk of errors and mistakes being published increases each day.

Scan through your social media feeds. There is a high chance of you noticing at least one (and sometimes far more than one) mistake in an otherwise excellent advertising campaign.

Poor spelling, wrong punctuation and incorrectly worded copy all serve to damage the image of the brand in question.

Does it matter?

Yes! Potential clients need to trust businesses before they will commit to an order. Even small errors can make a client wonder just how professional the people behind the business actually are.

Competition means that there is always another company or business waiting in the wings to swoop in and grab that potential client.

Don't lose clients through something as simple as a spelling error!

Contact me today for a free quote. Email

Helping Businesses One Word at a Time

Monday, September 4, 2017

Whe Needs Proofreading?

I've heard people say that only serious writers need proofreaders. Even if that were true, what makes a serious writer?

In the media, the word writer often conjures an image of a solitary figure bent over a laptop in a lonely upstairs room, looking out over the countryside as they wrestle with the next word.

In reality, writing has come a long way and a lot of writers do not consider themselves to be writers!

There are so many types of writing!
  • books
  • magazines
  • journals
  • reports
  • letters
  • emails
  • proposals
  • presentations
  • blog posts
  • advertisements
  • signage
  • social media posts
This list goes on.

For any business to be professional, all of these communications need to be checked carefully. A simple error in a report can drastically change the whole focus of it or an incorrectly spelled word in a sign can be a source of embarrassment.

While it is not always essential for every piece of writing to be checked, good business practice dictates that care should be taken over every communication and this is where proofreading can be so important.

So if you think you don't need a proofreader, think again! It's your business, so always put your best foot forward!

For a quote, contact me:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Proofreading 101

How do you go about proofreading your own content?

There are a few things you need to remember before you start
  • You are familiar with your content and will read it as you want it to read, not necessarily as it's written
  • Proofreaders are trained to catch errors and to know what to look out for
  • At the very least you will need to get a friend or family member to read through your content after you have finished, to see if they can catch any further errors
  • 'It will do' never does! If you catch an error you must resolve it even if it means rewriting or reworking part of the content
  • Proofreading is also about the look and feel of the piece. A beautifully written piece with bad layout or a great idea that is poorly presented will never be taken seriously
  • Put enough time aside to finish the job - a trained Proofreader averages 10 pages of 300 words per hour but that depends on the content and the type of proofreading needed
  • Take regular breaks to prevent eye-strain or tiredness both of which will affect your concentration.
The first thing you need to do is run the piece through a good spell-checker. If in doubt about any suggested changes, look them up in the relevant dictionary (depending on what language style is being used - Oxford English, American English, dialect, jargon etc.)

Using software like track changes in Word begin to go through your document amending errors as you find them. (Using track changes allows you to go back and see the original if you decide later that you are still not happy with the change).

When you are happy with your change, hit accept all and move to the next stage.

After this is complete and you are happy with the changes, print off the document (unless you are proofing a website or very short content) as it is easier to see mistakes on a hard copy.

Read through the piece (I suggest paragraph by paragraph) aloud. This will give you a good feel for the piece and will help with pacing as well as grammatical errors or realising that another word would work better.

Mark your changes as you go using proofreading marks for brevity and clarity or short notes near the change you wish to make.

When this is complete you will need to transfer your changes to the document.

After this, either print off the document again or send it as a pdf or mobi file to a friend or family member to read through.

If you have come this far, Congratulations! Your document is nearly ready to go.

When you get the document back from your reader, take note of any changes they request and if feasible or necessary, carry them out.

At last! You should be good to go! Well, nearly.

A few more things!
  • check all the document formatting
  • make sure that any pictures are where they are expected to be and are captioned correctly
  • establish that footnotes are referenced correctly
  • confirm that references are correct
  • ensure that headings and /or subheadings are sized consistently
If this seems like hard work, it is!

Why not contact me for a quote today?