Seriously, just like in real life relationships, hot sex alone cannot sustain anything. Not even a book. Any book. Neither is a good story alone enough to support a book. The fact is, editing is essential in presenting a final product that readers can enjoy.
Of late, I have read a number of self-published books that leave much to be desired in the editing department. And, the most frustrating part is that they are good stories! As an author who is digitally published, self-published, and an avid reader it boggles my mind why an author would publish a book that is so in need of editing and proofreading that a 12 year-old could do it.
Here’s the reality. The world of self-publishing is a small community. And like it or not, how one self-published author behaves reflects on all self-published authors. When enough writers produce mediocre books, the entire community will be painted with that brush. It takes a lot for an author to rise above that tarnish and be noticed by potential readers.
What can self-published authors do? Be rigorous in your standards of production. As all writers do, re-write and edit. Be diligent. Set your WIP aside for a week or two once you think it is done and then reread it. Once you are sure it is complete, have a beta reader or five read it. Listen to what they tell you. Are you head hopping? Fix it. Stay in one characters POV for at least a scene if not a full chapter. I mean, if you’re in the heroine’s POV she can’t see that her face has flushed red. If you’re in the hero’s POV he cannot know that the heroine is thinking he looks sexy unless she says so. Correct any grammar issues and missing words.
Then, take a look at digital and print books. How are they formatted? Follow suit. There are industry standards that readers are accustomed to. Mimic those as best as you can. Don’t use crazy font changes. Italicize foreign words, thoughts, and words you want to emphasize (sparingly). Use the em dash, it’s a tool available in all word processing software.
Finally, hire a professional editor. Listen to what they say and make changes accordingly. The bottom line is you should be able to produce a product that is representative of your brand. Every book that has your name on it is reflective of you as a writer. It is the primary way you interface with your readers.
One bad experience can turn a reader off from you as a writer. It won’t necessarily, but it can. Just writing hot sex is not enough to carry readers into future books.