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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

When It's Okay Not to Revise or edit

When is it okay not to revise or edit? When you are the only audience. If you are writing a diary or journal, and have no plans to share it with the world, there's no reason to be obsessive about your grammar and spelling unless it matters to you. Since you're the one doing the writing, you will probably understand your train of thought easily, though if you read it again years from now, you may shake your head and wonder. But it's all yours, so that's okay.

It might be okay not to revise or edit if you're pulling together a memoir or a book you always wanted to write, and you're just going to print a few copies for friends and relatives. In that case, you don't have to worry if it's rough reading - as long as you don't mind putting them in the uncomfortable position of having to lie or risk hurting your feelings with the truth.

If you have published a book after intensive editing and revision and you find a few typos scattered through hundreds of pages, you may decide to revise and upload a new file (especially if the errors are in the first pages) or you may decide it's okay to leave it alone. Traditionally published books by famous authors often have one or two typos. It's okay not to be perfect.

However, if you are going to self-publish and have your book available for sale, you are hurting every self-publisher when you put out work that is poorly constructed and clearly not edited. You make it less likely readers will try new, independent authors.

If you don't want to take time to revise, if you just want to get it done and into print, please, just work with your local printer to get a few copies made instead of pretending to be a professional.

Amazon's CreateSpace used to allow people to upload files and buy author copies without "publishing"- so no one else can purchase the book. We did it for a K-8 yearbook and I helped a woman do it for her dad's book that he'd worked on for decades, but was not suitable for publication beyond family and friends. CreateSpace is gone and Amazon now does print books with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Currently, it's not possible to get author copies from KDP without publishing except for PROOF copies - so labeled with a big banner. There's some discussion about KDP going back to allowing author only printing - if they do, I'll let you know.

Sheri McGuinn Author Services, Book Shepherd. I edit, re-write, co-author or ghostwrite; format books, and coach authors through the self-publication process.

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