After all the hard work of writing, editing, and proofreading your work you’ve finally reached a point where you upload the file to the various publishing sites and wait until you receive word that your e-book has gone live. You happily tell anyone and everyone who will listen about your achievement and hope a few of them might be interested enough to buy and read your story. If they’re really nice, they might even write you a review. Unfortunately, that review mentions a major flaw in your work; missing scenes, the jarring POV shift you thought you’d fixed, misspellings, incorrect words, punctuation problems…the list is endless.
Finding out your work isn’t as perfect as you’d hoped can be humiliating. You may have done everything possible to create as clean a copy as possible to provide your readers an enjoyable experience: worked with critique partners, beta readers, editors, proofreaders, and maybe even someone who specializes in formatting your document for publication. Yet somewhere along the line those pesky errors still managed to slip through. These things happen to even the most diligent authors and publishers.
The good news is that self-publishing e-books allows authors to go back and fix those embarrassing issues. The trick is to determine whether or not a problem is bad enough to warrant the time and effort involved in making and uploading changes to the various publishing sites. Indie authors are often short on time in the best of circumstances so, in my mind, fixing a few missing words or punctuation marks wouldn’t be a great idea unless the author has a lot of free time on their hands. Major problems should, of course, be addressed as soon as possible after the author learns of the issue. The book can then be re-uploaded and made available to readers who’ve purchased the less-than-perfect version.
An author needs to be careful not to get too caught up in trying to achieve perfection in their writing because making revisions can be a never-ending process. if your story is good in a technical sense, but you feel it’s not quite what you’d hoped, the best thing might be to move on and create other works. Previous publications are a reflection of who you were at the time they were written and may not live up to your current standards, but that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable in their own right. The early works of famous authors aren’t always their best, but reading them helps show their evolution as artists, in the same way as the early works of famous painters, dancers, and actors.
Don’t be afraid to go back to make corrections and re-publish your works, when necessary. Your readers will thank you for taking the time and making the effort to ensure their enjoyment of your works. Just be sure not to get caught up in an endless loop that takes time away from creating your next masterpiece.
As of today, Amazon.com has 2.8+ million Kindle e-books available on their site with 243,164 of those released in the last ninety days. With those kinds of numbers, books can easily become lost in a crowd that might look something like the one above: all very much the same. So how can an unknown author stand out?
This is a question I’ve been pondering as I write a paranormal romance while watching my husband and writing partner, JT Hume, release his work on Kindle. He has three books available at this time: one political, one religious, and one women’s fiction. Three different stories in three different categories with three different sets of characters. The one common thread among all three of them is a strong romantic/relationship subplot.
JT Hume is not Stephen King (though people often tell my husband he could be SK’s identical twin) so he doesn’t have the recognizable name to help sell his books. His covers are interesting, but maybe not different enough from other authors’ books to make them stand out that way. Using appropriate keywords to help readers find the work is an important, and difficult aspect, so that could be an issue. Plus, none of these books yet have a sequel – and I hear that series sell.
I’ve also been trying to help JT develop a “platform,” though I’m not quite sure how to go about that so we’re both bobbing along in the vast ocean that is social media like Jack and Rose from Titanic.
Other authors are wonderful about sharing tips and tricks on their blogs and I’ve read a lot of them over the past few months. The problem is that reading and doing are two different things. I haven’t yet had the “aha moment” that will allow me to truly comprehend what needs to be done to keep my Jack from disappearing into that dark ocean. Right now, he’s just hiding in the dark basement with his new game system so he can ignore that his books aren’t selling.
Anyone have ideas on how I might get him out?
If you’re interested, check him out here: JT Hume on Amazon
After finishing a second draft of my current WIP, a paranormal romance I’m calling Royal Flush, I started preparing myself for the next go-round. The manuscript showed some gaping plot holes, a few inconsistencies in story, and places where I need to finalize some of the more interesting details. Since this book will be the first in a series, I also need to get a handle on the overarching details that will carry forward into future installments.
A trip to our favorite local office supply store allowed me to pick up some basic supplies. I’ve got red pens and highlighters for proofing and editing, a portable file to organize my notes, colored magnets for my white board calendar, and day-of-the-week binder clips to separate my manuscript into manageable chunks. I’ve tossed all the old dried-out pens in my cups and replaced them with fresh ones.
Digging through the basement turned up a nice ‘new’ set of drapes for my office window; with autumn on the horizon, the changing light is causing glare on my computer screen while I work. My shelves are now neater thanks to a couple hours spent gathering all my writing books into a ready reference area right next to my desk.
I’ve placed a few things on the shelves across from my desk: a sign that says “ready, set, write,” a quill pen and inkwell, and family photos I can stare at while I think. The supports of the high shelf above me (where my creepy dolls stare over my shoulders while I work) dangle lengths of twine where I attach reference photos and note cards with clothes pins. Once I get a frame, a sepia-toned map will also go up on my wall.
The finishing touch to my office area is the old boom box that plays an oldies station while I work. I’ve also got old CDs of classical music that helps set the mood for certain scenes.
Housekeeping like this is a means of procrastination, of course. Yet getting my office into shape as I progress through a writing project helps me to get a handle on my story. This is also a good way to use up some of the excess energy that builds up after I’ve spent long stretches at the keyboard.
Now that everything in my office is organized again, I’m off on the most crucial part of my writing process – cleaning up the mess I made of my story during my first edit!