Grammarly-for-authors-self-editEvery writer needs an editor. If you want to be taken seriously as an author, there’s just no way around it. A good editor will strengthen your work and find the errors that you’re too close to see. I’ve spent years editing other authors and still have little chance of catching my own mistakes.

But there are many times when it’s not practical or possible to access an editor, proofreader or second set of eyeballs on short notice. This is especially true for authors who are blogging!

So I was excited recently to hear from a publishing friend in the northwest that he had discovered an online app called Grammarly. Said Dale, “It’s interesting and is a lot better than simple spellcheckers.”

I checked it out and had to agree. The program lets you check and correct over 250 different types of grammar mistakes, spanning everything from double negatives to faulty parallelisms. It’s easy to paste in your work and correct it right there. The results are well-defined. (I tested this unedited post to produce the feedback shown in the above graphic).

But it can also check a piece for originality, which is quite interesting. “I loaded a couple of things into it for its review,” said Dale, “and one piece was identified as being over 80 percent unoriginal. I was curious about that, so I clicked on the comment line and it pulled up three versions of the piece. How it found them is beyond me, but it’s cool to think it made some serious internet search for content.”

According to their website, “Grammarly’s plagiarism checker crosschecks your text against over 8 billion web pages, detecting plagiarized passages and highlighting sections that have been previously published elsewhere.”

That’s impressive. I went in and tested a few pieces myself, both original and bits I knew ran elsewhere, and found equally surprising and impressive results. This might even prove a useful tool to check if others are out there “borrowing” our words…

The site has a trial available, and pricing based on how many months you purchase. I went ahead and grabbed it for a year. As much as I write and don’t have the proper time to read through as carefully as I should, I figure it ought to save me at least that $12 a month in embarrassing errors!

And, even if a piece is heading to your editor, it’s in your best interest to make sure it’s already as tight as you can get it. Your editor can spend less time on spelling and grammar issues and more on the meat of your message.

So, while we’re always going to stand by using an editor, this is one nifty tool that can make both your lives easier. And, it will serve as a great virtual assistant for any of your writing that requires a quick self-edit.

Has anyone else given Grammarly a try? Please share your thoughts with your comment below!

ShariStauch Improve Your Author Marketing with Teamwork!Creator of Where Writers Win, Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years. Shari is a founding member of the PubSense Summit, the principal author of the WWW blog, and speaks at conferences around the country. The Where Writers Win team’s  Winner Circle offers vetted book review directories, book clubs, indie bookstore listings, calendars of conferences, festivals and other cultivated resources for emerging authors.

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15 thoughts on “Forced to Self-Edit? This Tool May Be Your New Best Friend

  • March 17, 2015 at 12:26 pm
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    Grammarly is great for very short pieces, but anything over 250 words is hard. They do have an app you can use in your Word document but you have to break the piece up to a max of 250 words for Grammarly to work properly and it best to use their website and not the app. I do not suggest Grammarly for anything that is book length since breaking up a piece is very time consuming. They do have an excellent policy of giving your money back, though. I was very pleased with that.

  • March 16, 2015 at 7:28 am
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    Thanks for the suggestion. It is a terrific tool!

    • March 16, 2015 at 10:15 am
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      Thanks, Lois – yep, still loving it here, too 🙂

  • March 11, 2015 at 12:32 pm
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    Thanks, sounds like something I could use and save a fortune on editing.

  • March 11, 2015 at 12:17 am
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    I am so glad of Shari Stauch because she gives me the right tool.

  • March 10, 2015 at 9:17 am
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    I did not find a FREE Option to try this. After inserting my so-called Free text, I was directed to where I had to sing up for a Paid Subscription.

  • March 9, 2015 at 11:21 pm
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    I have used Grammarly informally and I have found this site to be invaluable. I recommend Grammarly to anyone who wants to either improve or edit their written work

    • March 9, 2015 at 11:36 pm
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      Thanks, Marta – I’m loving it!

  • March 9, 2015 at 2:19 pm
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    Hi, this looked like a great recommendation. I ran a test, and had to sign up to get the details. They have a money back guarantee so no problem. The vast majority of the errors flagged were because the program thought my character name was an error.

    I asked for my money back.

    • March 9, 2015 at 11:37 pm
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      Interesting – they do have an option for that – to add words to your dictionary…

  • March 9, 2015 at 12:44 pm
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    A far superior web-based tool is Auto-Crit, available through auto-crit.com. Take a look and try it for free.

    • March 9, 2015 at 11:38 pm
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      Will do Jim and thanks for weighing in – will check it out!

    • March 11, 2015 at 7:06 am
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      I would second Jim’s statement. Autocrit is a fabulous program which I used for all my books. You can try it for free for the first level but the second and third level (professional writers) you pay for which is fair enough.

      EXCELLENT tool.

  • March 9, 2015 at 10:58 am
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    Hi Shari,
    I haven’t used Grammarly yet, but I’ve heard enough good things about it to give it a try.
    Thanks for sharing your experience with it.

    • March 9, 2015 at 11:38 pm
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      Thanks, Flora – I’m really enjoying using it — feels like a little helper in my corner 🙂

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