Well, it is official. I fired my editor. Getting my first novel published has been an adventure. Everyone wants to write a book, but do you know what the percentage is for those who actually do it? According to popular survey from the New York Times, 81% of people believe that they have a book inside them, dying to get out. In the same New York Times article, Joseph Epstein goes on to disparagingly say, “Misjudging one’s ability to knock out a book can only be a serious and time-consuming mistake. Save the typing, save the trees, save the high tax on your own vanity. Don’t write that book, my advice is, don’t even think about it. Keep it inside you, where it belongs” (NYT, September 28, 2002).
I say bunk! What an absolutely hideous, vain notion. There are many creative writers out there waiting to be heard. Many writers know that they will be able to paper their bathroom walls with rejection letters, until getting to that final YES! It is that spirit that keeps the art of writing going. I believe more in the philosophy of Toni Morrison who says, ““If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” In fact Booksinprint.com state that there were over 1.3 million books currently in print last year alone.
In fact, I would venture to say that the NYT article was written by one of the large publishing houses that know at this very moment, how their industry is being threatened by the emergence of the e-publishing and self publishing world. In my own networking group alone, DFW Indie Publishers, our numbers grow each and every week. That being said, self publishing takes some homework.
I personally hit a few snags in the road with editing. I completed the manuscript, was pleased with the results and began to format. Ugh. What a nightmare. Trim size, bleed, font size, dropped capitals or no. Getting the forematter formatted. Writing the story was easy. Getting it to the final product for me however was hair-raising. Not wanting to break the bank, through some networking, I got some cheap help from the professionals and made it to the galleys. I was on the home stretch. Or so I thought.
When you read and re-read your material, your eyes play tricks on you. You know the story so well, that sometimes you miss the most obvious errors. Spell check is not 100% infallable! Even doing the trick of reading it backwards, you oft miss a typo or two. In my own case, I was so concerned about the interior that I missed two typos on the back cover text! GAHHH!!!! The first 150 copies were printed with them.
I wanted to find the nearest cave and hide. That goodness it was mostly friends that had seen them. That and one local fiction promotions group. But the damage was done. They still to this day don’t take me seriously as a writer. I was gutted. One hundred and eighty potential fiction readers would never see my work! I wanted to cringe.
But, ever the survivor, I picked myself up, dusted off the muck and bucked it up. I know I am a good writer. My reviews belie that my story is worthy. A page turning, character rich, piece! I simply made a common mistake. Getting so excited about the galleys for FLYING SOLO, that I did not give it a fine tooth comb with a professional edit.
So you know what? I fired the editor. Sat at the computer and re-worked the interior. Reprinted with smashing success. I finally had a finished worthy product to be seen by the critics. And with only a few bumps and bruises to my ego along the way. It was best to focus on the writing and leave the editing to the professional.
Yes, I fired the editor. And the editor was me.