Monday, 3 November 2014

Invisible Mistakes - A lesson from Rayne Hall

Following the release of her most recent Writer's Craft book, fantasy author and Ten Tales editor Rayne Hall talks about the invisible mistakes that may hinder an indie author's book sales.


Glaring errors happen in the worst place – the book title, the series title, the book cover, the blurb. One such mistake is enough to ruin a book's sales. If the title has a typo, most people will avoid that book.

As authors, we don't notice them, because our eyes see what they expect to see.


You probably can't answer this question. If you knew about an error, you would have fixed it already.

The eye sees what it expects to see. That's why we authors are the worst proofreaders of our own works, and why we hire proofreaders to check our manuscripts.

But when we upload our books for indie publication, we need to type the title and product description, and this is where errors creep in and pass unnoticed.

Titles attract gremlins.  When I was assistant editor in charge of a weekly local newspaper, every page was checked by two or more subeditors before it went to print. This should have guaranteed an error-free paper. But every Friday when the freshly-printed papers arrived, a typo glared at me – usually in the biggest headline on Page 1.


Ask two or three other writers to check your book's product page on Amazon and other retail sites.

Instruct them to pay scrupulous attention to the notorious gremlin spots - the book's title, any series title or subtitle, and the first paragraph of the blurb. Offer to do the same for their books.

Be prepared for a cringe-inducing discovery.

With ebooks and print-on-demand books, these errors are quick to fix. Do it at once – but take care that you don't commit new mistakes in your hurry.


I always mean to check my blurbs carefully before publishing them. But after all the tedious formatting, I'm glad that I can publish the book now, so I do it at once. The formatting has depleted my concentration, so typos happen, and I'm too tired to proofread properly, and too impatient to wait for outside proofreaders to check the page.

“Learn to to haunt your readers with powerful, chilling tales.” This was the first sentence of my blurb for Writing Dark Stories. I didn't realise this until a fellow author alerted me.


For another 20 tips on getting your book sales soaring, check out:
Why Does My Book Not Sell? 20 Simple Fixes.


Rayne Hall has published more than fifty books in several languages under several pen names with several publishers in several genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), 13 British Horror Stories, Six Scary Tales Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5(creepy horror stories), Thirty Scary Tales, Six Historical Tales Vol. 1 and 2 (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), The Colour of Dishonour: Stories from the Storm Dancer World, Writing Fight Scenes, The World-Loss Diet, Writing About Villains, Writing About Magic, Writing Dark Stories, and Writing Scary Scenes (practical guides for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies, Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance, Dragons: Ten Tales of Fiery Beasts and more.

Rayne has lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal and  has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur on the south coast of England.

Author photo (c)Christopher Shoebridge
Mark Cassell lives in a rural part of the UK with his wife and a number of animals. He often dreams of dystopian futures, peculiar creatures, and flitting shadows. Primarily a horror writer, his steampunk, fantasy, and SF stories have featured in several anthologies and ezines.

His debut novel, The Shadow Fabric, is a supernatural story and is available from Amazon.

Twitter: @Mark_Cassell Facebook: