Friday, April 24, 2015

Self-editing with text-to-speech

Having your work read back to you is a great way to catch errors that you have previously missed.  When I was working with the narrator to make an audio version of Buddy, my part in the process was to listen to David's work and make sure everything was cool.  I caught a couple of mistakes while doing that--my mistakes, not his--and immediately updated the manuscript.

Later, I saw some other author (I can't remember who) mention that he played his stuff back using a text-to-speech program in order to help him edit his work.  I already knew the value in hearing your work read back, but hadn't considered using such a program.  After some casual googling, I found this site:

I just copy and paste my stuff into the box and then click the "create audio file" button.  It takes it a few minutes, depending on the length of the passage, but when it's done, you can play it or download it.  And that's it.  No cost, no registration.  Easy-peasy.

Since I'm in the process of making a new cover for Mr. Wilson, as well as a new blurb, I figured I'd go ahead and use this editing technique.  I just finished listening to it a few minutes ago.  I found two errors and corrected them.

So, for indie authors who edit their own stuff, here's the process that I use and suggest:

1.  Eyeball editing.  This is just a careful reading of the whole story on your word processor and correcting any errors you see.

2.  Kindle editing.  This is where I convert the .odt to a .mobi and load it onto my Kindle.  Then I read it carefully from start to finish.  If I encounter something that needs to be changed, then I use the "highlight" function to highlight the part I intend to change.  Then I use the "note" function to record what I need to change it to.  When I reach the end, I sit in front of the computer with the Kindle and incorporate those changes into the .odt.  This is a time-consuming process, but it's totally worth it.  In fact, I'd say it's the most important part of the editing process for me.

3.  Audio editing.  This is the latest technique I've added to my repertoire.  The danger here is that I've never really cared for audiobooks, and it's real easy for me to zone out or doze off.  As already mentioned, though, it has helped me find errors that I previously missed, so it's worth it.

Revision is never fun.  It's the "work" of writing.  But there's no getting around it.  It has to be done, so since you're going to immerse yourself in such misery for a while anyway, you might as well do it as best you can.

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