I have written about the use of professional services as part of the process of getting a book to print. It is undeniably true that utilizing professionals to help shape your finished book is advisable from any perspective. Also undeniably true is that professionals don’t work for free. Nor should they. The argument is not is it a good idea to seek outside professional help to edit your manuscript, design your cover, format the digital file(s), and market the finished book, it is simply a question of economics. If one has the money to pay for the professional services, or any of them, that is of course a good thing.
This article is about the availability of alternatives for the writer to use when there is no budget for any of the professional services mentioned above. It is called Guerilla Marketing and it has been around for a long time, first published in 1983, by Jay Levinson. There are different listed explanations of what Guerilla Marketing entails. Put simply, Guerilla Marketing is the use of numerous devices available any entrepreneurial person or business that do not cost a lot of money, sometimes no money at all.
It would be foolish to attempt to explore the fuller range of low cost alternatives for each step of the publishing process is way beyond a single article. Thus, I merely begin the conversation on available recourses which rely upon the author for the labor. Replicating professional proof reading of a manuscript isn’t an easy task, although it is certainly possible. That later.
There are two primary areas of focus for indie authors to consider; Pre-publication and post-publication. The focus on pre-publication is totally on the manuscript. Post-publication the focus is on marketing. I will begin with pre-publication efforts first. Editing a manuscript is the primary duty of the writer. Who else? The knowledge of the writer makes every difference in the finished manuscript. Considerations of editing include grammatical structure and spelling. Anyone using more recent versions of writing programs, Microsoft Word being a standard application, knows that these programs have built-in grammar and spelling checkers. The grammar checker can be altered by the user to apply various standards for the check, adding or eliminating aspects to the use of grammatical structure. Spell check needs no explanation.
After the author has carefully edited their manuscript to the best of their ability, seeking out outside help in further editing is desirable. One local recourse for such editing is found in the secondary educational field; English teachers or literature professors. Some instructors may ask for a reading fee, which would likely be considerably less than listed manuscript editors. Others, however, will be willing to read your manuscript and leave requisite editing notes, for being included in the dedication page in the front of the book, or other arranged exchange. I would also make note of a very good source of editing input on a manuscript is to find a trusted friend or acquaintance that is well read, and one you feel is a good source to either edit or offer feedback.
For a indie writer without economic prospects for paying online professionals to proof your work, it is up to you to find local recourses and trusted readers to fulfill that role. It can be done. Think outside the box. You know what you wanted to say, how does that read to others? The writer may have a grammatically correct manuscript with no spelling errors yet not be a satisfying experience for the reader. Or, the manuscript can be a wonderful and satisfying story with accepted grammatical errors, and even misspellings. The former would be a tragedy, the latter easily fixed. Experience tells the writer of which category they fall.