I had exchanged emails for several months with Peter Grant, aka Bayou Renaissance Man, about self-publishing and authorship. When was nearing completion of the story, I sent him a copy of the manuscript. He just posted a plug for it. It’s funny, I don’t really think of myself as a blogger, but I suppose most don’t; they think of themselves as an [insert day job]er who blogs a bit on the side. It was a little weird seeing me described that way. Eh, that’s OK, I’m sure I learn to live with it.
“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.” — Winston Churchill, speaking to the National Book Exhibition in London.
Flung, available at Amazon.
Now… the waiting.
I think “editing” can be defined as: The act of rearranging mistakes and replacing them with new ones elsewhere, in an attempt to make things better. But gradually, like sand blowing in the wind and carried in the rivers that gradually wears down giant boulders, typos and mistakes disappear. Nearly done.
I uploaded it to Amazon, put in all my information, and am now working on tweaking the formatting of things while awaiting final replies from a couple of proof-readers before I go live. Getting graphics right, bullet points, all the rest, will be interesting. Once I get these replies, and the formatting looks OK on their previewer (which, no surprise, doesn’t quite look exactly like it does on my discontinued model Kindle after going through a Calibre conversion into a MOBI file), I’ll let people know. Continue reading Flinging format
I have concluded that using a professional editor is a very good idea. That said, I also think it is important to keep your editing goals in mind, and make them explicit. I have determined that my goals are not literary, but commercial. Brilliant phrasing and eloquence and perfection in word selection are great if they happen to happen, but spending endless time aiming for them gets in the way. All I desire is Clear, Correct, Consistent, Concise, and Done. Brain-cycles spent doing more than that, for me, are wasted.
Clear: Is it easy for the reader to understand what I am saying?
Correct: Does it follow proper conventions, and did I say what I meant to say?
Consistent: Does the style and format stay true to itself, so the reader doesn’t get goofed up on things that are not really a part of the story?
Concise: Aim more for Hemingway than Rand, but don’t be obsessive about it, because–
Done: Without this, the rest is wasted. Don’t play ivory tower, think Larry the Cable Guy, and just git ‘er done.
Your choices might be different, because you might have different goals… just be clear what your goals are.
I’m experimenting with a tip-jar. Sometime soon there should be a “Donate” button from PayPal on the sidebar, where you can through in a donation for the hyper-localized poor writers fund if you think the story The Stars Came Back was worth more than the $2.99 Amazon price. It’ll also be helpful when I get set up to sell the story via other outlets, and if it goes big then then I have branded swag, too. That may be a while, though.
I’ve come to the conclusion that doing much more editing has a marginal utility approaching zero, and possibly has negative value to me. Yes, spending more time working with my editor might improve the writing slightly, but I think the ROI in terms of sales or time isn’t acceptable. The writing is good enough for most people, and more dollars spent on it won’t measurably increase sales but will cost cash I don’t have and delay the launch, while more minutes spent on it will only rise my frustration levels and will decrease time spent writing new stuff. So I’m now working to wrap up the details of formatting, cover art, other art, Amazon stuff, and other details I didn’t even know existed before I started this thing. Target is before the end of the month. Fingers crossed, but it looks like the home stretch is here.
Five people asked to be proof-readers, and I sent them the first quarter to read through and comment on. Three have returned it and been sent the second segment. Two have returned the second and been sent the third. One returned the third and been sent the fourth today. Yay! When I get three returns on the fourth segment, or my editor gets back online and sends me something, then I think I’m good to publish. Gad, what a tedious load of work. Paul pointed me to the following Churchill quote: Continue reading Proofreading progress