Editing Out Loud

Here’s a confession. Even after the initial publication, Human X still needed editing. The original version contained more than its share of typographical whoopsies. It had been through several passes from myself, as well as friends and family, but I still heard from a reader that the book was run through with small errors.

Admittedly, I hadn’t been willing to part with approximately $1,000 or more it would take to hire a professional editor, and I still wasn’t in a position to invest the cash. I could do something else. I read the book again, but this time out loud to myself. Reading aloud forces you to see every word on the page, but not the ones that you thought were there because you could swear you remembered writing them. It’s not a totally foolproof method but it’s far more reliable than reading visually.

It’s not something that you can just knock out in one nine-hour stint. Even doing an hour at a time is mentally exhausting, and I’m was not even reading like I would if I were recording an audiobook. That comes later (but, oh yes, it’s coming).

Thus, I broke it down into a few fifteen-minute bursts, adding up to about an hour or two per day. That made it possible to keep up a real pace and finish in a little over a week. All it requires a fresh printed copy of the manuscript and a red pen.

Even if you have no intention of doing your own audiobook, this method of proofreading is worth the risk that you’re family and friends might think you’re slipping your moorings because you’re always locked in your room talking to yourself.

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