Writing the first line of a web journal entry like this one is very hard.
I want to come out chipper and gleeful, like my book is the cure for the everyday reading difficulties that all good and decent people must have suffered since the beginning of time:
The reality is that I am exhausted. Am I happy? Sometimes I want to weep in relief and exhaustion and frustration: relief because it’s out, exhaustion because I regularly spent 16-hour days writing and editing and rewriting, and frustration because I want it to be error-free.
I and so many other wonderful authors I know quest with each manuscript to achieve that holy grail of publication.
To all new writers out there . . .
It’s impossible to achieve a perfect manuscript. That said, keep trying. Doing the impossible is our modus operandi.
And please remember that an editor–Dog love ’em!–is not as emotionally embedded in the world as the author. The editor’s role is to make a manuscript ready for entertaining VIPs, not to clean up an author’s dirty plot-and-technique underpants. Injecting life into a Code Blue manuscript makes someone a co-writer, and that means royalties.
In other words, my little literary lottery hopefuls, only give editors what you know in your heart-of-hearts is ready to be published today. For what you’ll pay for the editor’s time, nothing less will do than the work you know will be praised by a tearful editor as being perfect before it’s turned into that millions-of-dollars, movie-and-chachkis deal within hours of your book’s release.
Spell check. Grammar check. Continuity check. Proofreading. Polishing. Oh, and canon checks for series continuity.
All of these must be done before the editor can tear it apart. If you do any less? That editor’s time and your money will be wasted on the small stuff, leaving you to fix the big editing issues.
The resources are online, in public libraries, and at new and used bookstores. How do I know? Because that’s where I go to for my continuing self-education on spelling, grammar, and editing.
Writing for publication, indie or not, isn’t for the weak-willed.
Meanwhile, back at the train of thought station . . .
So, I haven’t got the twee-and-whee experience as I belly up to the publication bar this time. In my previous post, I linked to C.A. Hocking’s web journal entry about IABOS (Independent Author Burn Out Syndrome). I want to turn around and start Volume III of the Cryptid Series. Well, continue on it. I have an ugly first draft that’s going to be mined for some elements and scenes. Mostly, I will be writing from notes and changes to canon established in Man and Brother and Til Undeath Do Us Part.
I’m not sure how many installments of the Cryptid Series will ever reach your side of publication–though I am currently trying to commit to an initial four and beat out the Dome Trilogy in both copies sold and books in the series published.
This malaise will pass, as will my desire to quit writing and cross the dividing line between writer of my books and editor of others’ books. Despite this woeful state, I am pleased that I learned about Jessica Alter the writer yet again:
- I was afraid when I released Man and Brother into the pre-order publication queue. Subsequent books are bound by the parameters of canon once I publish, and I’m afraid a plot decision I made here will send the entire series (and my writing career) down in silent flames.
- As much as I want to have a 6-month publishing cycle, I can’t keep up with that pace. It puts me at a disadvantage, for sure, but I just cannot do April/October releases.
- My brain auto-corrects the weirdest errors, even in my polished manuscripts. Having others to read fresh and catch those mistakes is a blessing. It also pisses me off and makes me question if I can write at all.
- I still want to be discovered and get that movie or television deal. It’s unrealistic, but I feel that every time I publish a new work. Maybe this time, I secretly hope, my world of imagination will be intriguing enough to get visual media’s attention.
- I still appreciate each person who commits to reading something I write. I know some of the people, but most are just out there like sparkling stars in a perfect night sky. I am filled with wonder, awe, love, and appreciation.
- And those people who purchase my work still leave me grateful to tears. I am not owed attention because I wrote a book. No one is. However, a sale can change the entire day for the better. Sometimes I laugh in joy; sometimes I dance; sometimes I cry because I wish I could say thanks.
What else have I got to say?
Well, the final product is much better than the first few drafts. A lot more humor in what I’ve been told is a grimmer story than the first. The next book has to be more lighthearted, or at least it needs more zany moments and more levity. Then again, if this novel tanks and takes the series with it . . . I will be pulling out my writing reference aids and will move to the editing side of the street at IndieImprint.
But Man and Brother is something I can feel pleased about. Maybe even proud over. This is eighteen months of monumental series development and massive subplot changes (and the hunting and extermination of story threads related to said eliminated subplots). This is the foundation upon which the Cryptid Series will stand, and I think it’s pretty solid.
I hope you do, too.