Common Mistakes Authors Make – Part 2: Transcribing Your Words
One of the biggest and most frustrating issues I hear about from all this new-style form of publishing as an indie author is around the issue of recording and then transcribing your words into a book. The growing use of great software that enables you to simply record your voice accurately, and have your text turn into a book, without editing in many instances, is the thing of nightmares for most serious writers and publishers. Regardless of whether you’re an indie or a traditional author, you need to know this simple truth. Your spoken words are received differently by the reader than your written words are.
You can by all means, record your book, blog, report or anything else for that matter. I’m not knocking the concept of recording your work if you feel you’re a better speaker than writer. And for many people, this is a perfect option because it’s also less time consuming and easier to find the right ‘flow’ for your words. Just as some people also like to hand write everything to get their personal ‘muses’ awoken and performing well. The issue lies not with the option of recording, but in what happens next.
If you record your book, then you must have it edited thoroughly and that includes having the manuscript properly tidied up. This is an expensive edit if you choose to not do a lot of this part yourself. The challenge is, that when you go through and read your transcribed words out loud to see if they make sense to you, as you are the person closest to your content, the words will undoubtedly be very well ‘heard’ by your own ears. However, to someone who is not you – although in some cases your partner might be so familiar with your speaking style that they too will not pick up on the nuances obvious to anyone else – will read your work without your voice in their head and will simply find that your work is (at best) poorly written.
Poorly written books are rubbish!
Worth not much more than scrap paper. Ouch! I know that sounds brutal, but sadly it’s true.
If you are writing a book because you wish to impress your potential clients, fans, family that you are outstanding in your field of expertise, then producing a poorly written book – regardless of how good your actual wisdom might be – will fail to hit any targets you set for it.
Please, simply know this. If you think you can race to the finish line by simply making some notes, and then recording a spoken version of your book, and then not having it professionally edited by someone who has high quality ghost writing and/or superior editing skills, you are potentially wasting your time, and risking your reputation.
Your Best Solution
So here’s what you can do if you wish to speed up the process of developing your manuscript.
Make lots of notes – write out most of your content and if you are already an outstanding professional speaker, then you might be able to get away with recording the bulk of your content with just the notes. From there, get a very competent outsider (someone who who is not you, and does not hear you talking on a daily basis) to read your material. And give you brutal feedback.
Then hire a great writer or editor to polish your manuscript thoroughly.
From there, be prepared for some additional re-writes of your own, because your editor will stumble across some things you said that just won’t make sense, and then hire an alternative editor for a final go over.
Then you will have a manuscript worthy of publishing. One that will be a professional representative of your expertise in your market.