Crowd Editing, Part One

I’ve recently had an interesting publishing experience that I want to explore over the next couple of days. It involves the difference between editing and proofreading as well as, believe it or not, marketing.
TOF with Ruth's edits for web
Last month, I printed 100 copies of Thieves of Fire for marketing purposes. This was a “private” print run done before releasing the book to the public.

My first task was to share copies of Thieves with folks willing to review it on Amazon. Some of these folks I know but many of them are readers who contacted me about my first Carding novel, The Road Unsalted, because they liked it. My hope was that they would like Thieves of Fire as well or tell me honestly if they didn’t.

Either way, their opinions matter to future readers. (A side note here: No matter how much folks want to believe that the internet has changed marketing “forever,” word of mouth is still the most important marketing asset anyone can have.)

I knew there were still some typos in the review copies and probably a couple of stray words left behind as I made my final edits so I invited everyone who accepted my invitation to let me know about any mistakes they found.
TOF book wrap for web
Much to my surprise, people loved having the opportunity to interact with my book in this way. It has been such fun to read their feedback, to hear what they think about the cover, what characters they liked, how the book kept them up at night reading (oh yes, I love hearing that), and oh-by-the-way, here’s a list of the typos that I found.

I need to interject here to tell you that Thieves was edited before I sent it to the printer to make review copies so I was confident it didn’t have any structural problems that would call for large amounts of rewriting. To me, publishing an unedited book is a sign of disrespect to readers.

But we all find typos in books. We all find extra words or punctuation errors. Correcting these is a process called proofreading, and readers are very, very good at it because errors interrupt their reading experience. Finding a typo is a lot like stubbing your toe when you’re out for a walk in the woods on a beautiful day.

Unpleasant.

So I was not surprised when folks contacted me with corrections. What did surprise me is how much they enjoyed being an intrinsic part of publishing Thieves of Fire.

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