Advice I didn’t take (and advice I did)

Have a word processor? Writing a book? Hey, me too! Let me share some things I’ve learned since I published Dark and Deep on Amazon KDP. I know that you won’t listen to me–I wouldn’t have listened to me–but it feels good to be older and wiser. Let me roll around in it a bit.

1. Get an editor
HahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAhahaha. Hoo boy, did I ever skip that part. I’m writing to please myself and if anybody feels like throwing $2.99 my way, that’s gravy. I don’t have money to spend on an editor.

I’ve spent the time since I initially published Dark and Deep in an obsessive series of edits and rewrites, which I do upload to Amazon, and which new customers do get when they buy the book. Unfortunately Amazon does not automatically push the updates onto people who have already bought it. I’m sorry, folks. Given that I was too cheap to pay an editor to help me clean it up, let me move on to the second thing I didn’t do, which would have prevented this muddle.

2. Put it away for a month before you begin to polish and edit
Seriously. You have to have distance from the first draft. I know that you’re ready and raring to put your book out there, but trust me. Just wait. Start writing the next book while you wait.

3. Print it out and read it on paper
You will catch a ton of problems when you do this.

4. Convert it to e-reader format, and read it on your e-reader
This is another way to catch a ton of problems. If you are using Amazon KDP, you can begin to “build” your book and download the .mobi file for proofing before you make the book live for customers. Do it.

5. Use a text-to-speech program to listen to it
I haven’t done this, but I’ve seen many many sources recommend it, and it makes very good sense. You as the author know what the text is supposed to say so you skip half the words in the manuscript. Converting it to speech will break you out of that trap.

6. Let it go
At some point you have to let the manuscript go. If you’re lucky enough to be working with a publisher, that publisher will enforce the finish. If you’re self-publishing, the temptation to continuously re-work the book is hard to resist. At some point, though, you have to tell yourself that it’s good enough, and leave it alone.

… and what about one thing I’ve done RIGHT?

1. Be willing to be a flamboyant failure
When I was writing Dark and Deep, I went where I wanted to go. I wrote what I wanted to write. I tortured my characters however I felt like torturing my characters. You have to do this when you write fiction. If you don’t put everything you’ve got into your work, the result will be tepid and boring. When you pull out all the stops, though, you do expose yourself, and it might be embarrassing, and even worse it might be an embarrassment that everybody really hates… but at least it won’t be boring.

And one thing nobody can say my first book is, is boring.

I also think that it’s rather well-edited at this point. I don’t hesitate to say that it’s “safe” to buy it now. Enjoy!

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