This blog was featured on 05/29/2018
A Big Mistake Many Indie Authors Make
Written by
Maria Murnane
May 2018
Written by
Maria Murnane
May 2018

If there's one issue I encounter more than any other reading indie books, it's the lack of editing. And by editing I don't mean just proofreading. Developmental editing and copy editing are different than proofreading—and also different from each other.

Here's a quick explanation of the two:

Developmental editors help identify and fix problems with the major elements of your book, such as plot, character development, pacing, and style. A developmental editor takes a bird's-eye view of the story and makes suggestions - granular as well as broad - on how to improve it.

An example of a granular suggestion: "When Joe and Stephanie go to the coffee shop, it doesn't fit with Joe's character to order nonfat milk."

An example of a broad suggestion: "Consider eliminating the Andrew character. He seems to play the same role as the Sam character."

Copy editors, like proofreaders, have eagle eyes for typos, missing words, punctuation mistakes, and grammatical errors, but they also pick up excessive repetition of words/phrases, timeline inconsistencies, geographical inaccuracies, etc.

Good copy editors also catch random mistakes such as:

"When Joe and Steph go to the coffee shop, Steph is wearing a red dress, but when they are at dinner afterward she is in a pink dress."

I recommend hiring a developmental editor (the pros at Girl Friday Productions are amazing), but you can probably beg a friend or two to copy edit. Before I submitted my first novel to literary agents I printed out three copies, bought a box of red pens, and handed the manuscript to three friends who love grammar and writing as much as I do. I was floored when I saw how many mistakes they found! It's amazing how after so many hours of writing and rewriting, your eyes see words that are not there - or fail to see extras that are.


Maria Murnane writes bestselling novels about life, love and friendship. Have questions? You can find her at


This blog post originally appeared on Reprinted with permission. © 2018 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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