"If you (the writer) don’t like what you (the editor) are doing, take your complaint to you (the publisher)."
There are several people involved in the self-publishing process - There’s me. There’s myself. And there’s I....
As you progress through this publishing adventure, it is important to review your work for content and story flow, layout and format logic and whether the writing style is uniquely yours. Why? Because whether you are sending your manuscript to a copyeditor through the traditional publishing method or the self-publishing method your work will need to be draft ready. A copyeditor, agent or publisher will not want to review messy work. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if a professional has trouble making sense of it, the general public, as well as your niche market, will too. An effective way to know if the content of your work has a consistent flow to the storyline, logical formatting and unique style is by asking questions about the work from the perspective of the third person. It will take a bit of getting used to, but it is very important and you will be using this technique throughout the self-publishing process in particular. Using this technique will reveal areas of your work that can be improved upon so the story will make sense to the reader which is ultimately the goal. Ask questions like: 1) Does the theme of the story match the content of the story? For example, say there are several nautical references in your manuscript, but the storyline is about cave dweller romances in a barren desert. Unless you have some incredible way of weaving those concepts together so that it makes sense to the reader, you will want to do some serious re-writing or consider switching to science-fiction. 2) Is it logical for my chapter titles to be in Broadway style font, if my book is about life in Arabia? The font used for titles sets the stage for the reader (no pun intended) and must coincide with the overall storyline. 3) Can the style of your writing be compared to a famous author of our time? If so, then it is not your unique style. It is the famous author’s style. Again, do some serious re-writing so that the writing style is uniquely yours. Or you may consider being a ghostwriter for someone else. Another aspect to consider when reviewing your work is realizing that it is easy to forget that as the author of the work, you already know all there is to know about: the storyline, the personalities of the characters, and the “facts” whether fiction or non-fiction. However, just because you think you wrote those details into your work doesn’t necessarily mean you did. If you’re scratching your head right now, let me explain further. While I was working on This Side Of Heaven, I submitted a draft of my work to someone whom I knew would give brutally honest feedback. Keep in mind this was the first of many reviews and drafts. I gave her a list of objectives I wanted to accomplish with the book to get her started. When she returned the first draft to me it was marked with extensive notes, corrections and questions. By reviewing her comments I found I had left out significant information that left her questioning why, when, where and how. And in each case, I never provided the missing information anywhere else in the book even though I thought I had or thought that the answer was obvious. The problem was it was only obvious to me because I already knew the details. This process helped me realize that I had to start asking questions of the story as if I was someone other than the author; as if I didn’t already have the inside scoop (fiction or non-fiction applies). If the reader is left hanging it should only be for two reasons: 1) to keep him intrigued from chapter to chapter, feeding him bits and pieces of the answers throughout the balance of the book, or 2) to get the reader craving the sequel. The third person technique will also be necessary for you (yes, you) to write the back cover of your book, the inside flap of the dust jacket, your website bio, your advertisements, and so on. It’s just another reason for the word “self” in self-publishing. So, are you having fun yet? Nod your head up and down and start practicing the third person technique.