My Editor will arrive soon. Why am I anxious? I’ve met with her before on several occasions. She has been straight with me since the beginning. When we first met she said first and foremost, “There are no guarantees your book will be published.” Yet she also told me my story is solid. If it wasn’t, she would not have agreed to meet me at all. She also knows I would like to try the traditional route of finding an Agent and having a Publishing House accept my work. Self-publishing would be Plan B.
Why am I anxious today? I’m doing the best I can, but here are the realities of learning how to do the work. And please know, I am not an expert by any means, but I have a knack of finding the right people who know much more than I. Then listening to them. Really, listening to them.
“Do the work.” That’s what New York Times best-selling author Laura Munson told me. She wrote This Is Not The Story You Think It Is. There is A LOT of work involved in writing a book. When they say it is a process, they’re not kidding. The process for me is in many, many stages. It’s not just roses and sunshine and putting words on the page. The reality for me came when my Editor was brutally honest and said although my story is solid, my grammar usage and tense errors were abundant. My modifiers dangled, my verbs weak and did I know what an adverb is and how it’s used?! Unless you are prepared to pay a lot of money for the Editor you hire, or in my case, the Editor who accepted me as a client. You too must do the work it takes to either relearn or refresh yourself with the mechanics of writing.
I didn’t even get to the part of the correct formatting when preparing your book for editing. Do not think you can just hand over a rough draft, all single spaced without paragraphs, correct font size, without page numbers, chapter numbers, heading or footers etc. Oh no. YOU must take all of this into account. If you do not know what is required, well, that is on YOU. And you know what – it’s hard! It takes time and effort. It is not like it was years ago that you submitted something pretty damn good, then the publisher would take you by the hand and assist you with corrections, rewrites and council you to pull the best they could from you. Nope. Not happening today. At least not for me. And maybe, just maybe that’s a good thing.
Today they want to see, have you indeed done the work? Are you serious? Would you be better off publishing yourself? Let’s talk about that for a minute. There is nothing wrong with self publishing. Maybe it’s a book you’ve wanted to write for your family. I know a lovely older woman who is writing a memoir for her great grand children. She has no desire to have it published by a large publishing company with hopes of a book tour around the world. She wants to leave a piece of herself to her family. A priceless gift if you ask me. A beautiful, personal story. She is literally documenting her history and sharing stories of her childhood. The things that she deems important to know, to remember and to understand. There is nothing wrong with going the self-publishing route and I applaud her efforts.
I also know people who have bought self published books and have been terribly disappointed. The person decided not to hire an editor, or apparently had no one they could ask to read their story before it was published for mistakes. It was full of spelling and punctuation errors. There was no flow to the story. The person simply began with Chapter One – thought about something, wrote it down. Now Chapter Two – thought about something else, wrote it down and so on and so on. Their goal it seems to me, was to be able to say they were published.
For me personally. I want more. I want to produce something that is as good as it can be. Will it be perfect? Most likely not. But I will work hard to make it the best it can be. Yet I also know. I cannot do this alone. A good editor is worth their weight in gold. Mine is a well established, very unique, funny, yet hard as nails editor. We can agree to disagree on certain things. But when it comes to the mechanics of writing – I listen to her.
So today I will find out of my studying and practice has paid off. Will I need another rewrite, or am I a step closer of being able to run with what I have and begin the next step of this journey? I’ll let you know!
In the meantime, I am going to invite you – IF -you dear reader are like me and wish to learn when someone offers you something worth knowing. That may be helpful, or just confirm what you’re working on is going in the right direction. Check out James V. Smith Jr’s book, The Writer’s Little Helper © 2006 “Pay attention to the tone and mechanics you establish from the very first line. Be sure they’re consistent.” Is one of many clear and solid guidelines he offers.
If I have not printed/posted/said in a while Thank You. I do so now. Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts. To join me on this journey, one word at a time. It has been exciting and exhausting and I’ve never been happier than I am when I write.
Breathe Deep, Think Peace