And in this new world inundated with ebooks, it's essential to stand out. Quality will do that, but you'll need to take a bigger part of the responsibility.
What's an author to do?
First, become an active part of a critique group (or two). There are different kinds out there. Some are 'fluffy', where no one will speak a critical word, and everyone's manuscript is 'so nice'. That's not what you need if publication is your goal. You're looking for a group that will toughen up your rhino skin. That won't let you get away with a half-effort. That will put you on the spot till you get it right.
Second, work hard at critiquing your fellow members. Read books on craft. Read lots of fiction. These activities will hone your own editing skills, enabling you to spot more inconsistencies in your own manuscript. You might even start getting requests from other writers to edit their stories. Imagine that--getting paid and learning at the same time.
Third, learn about the different types of editing available. Rachelle Gardner shared a fantastic article recently that details the different types of edits you might expect. Even more helpful, she posts a list of comments she's made on contracted books. It's a great visual for prepublished writers to see that even multipublished authors get the same kind of critique comments we do.
So, with all my thinking about editing (maybe it's because I'm in the middle of a client's big editing project), I thought I'd begin a weekly series, called Red-Letter Days. Each Monday, I'll post a snippet of writing that exhibits a particular writing issue, along with ways it can be fixed. I'd love for you to chime in with your ideas. After all, I'm still learning, too.
Question: What is the biggest editing issue that trips you up?