Walk, stumble, fall flat on your face, stand up and start walking again.

Posted on April 28, 2013
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so here it is...I did everything wrong with my first book, Dramani. I will work hard to not make the same mistakes twice.

Here's what I did wrong:

  • I didn't edit enough. Unfortunately, I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print after I self-published. Lots of stupid errors went through, like excessive reuse of uncommon phrases, something that would have been caught had I read the book out loud. Several homophones were caught the instance they rolled off my tongue. Yikes!
  • I didn't seek feedback from other self-publishing authors on CreateSpace and other sites. They can be blunt, and sometimes a little obnoxious, but at least it's unbiased, valuable criticism of your work. Getting critical feedback from friends and family is like pulling teeth from the giant elephant in the living room. 
  • I initially priced high at $7.99, foolishly thinking it was low, before reading what other self-published newbies are doing with pricing. Of course, when I published I thought I was writing the best damn freaking novel in the universe...so $7.99 was CHEAP! 
  • My cover was not intriguing enough for a science fiction novel. I was set on having a cover with a blue theme, because blue is my favorite color, and something with the night sky, because the story is about aliens. What am I, a kindergartner?
  • And lastly...I didn't edit enough! I post this twice because, even after I edited the book a dozen times, I needed to have another pair of expert eyes tell me the things I didn't see. I needed someone to point out to me my errors, so that I may catch them in the second book. It was a success! This same editor worked on my second book and came back faster and with less issues. She even said she enjoyed it...which she didn't say about my first book...because it was less error prone. 

I won't even touch on the subject of marketing, because I'm still learning the biz.

Initially I wanted to self-publish because I'm a control freak, but the problem with that is now I control the marketing aspect and I literally suck at marketing.  I hate being in the spotlight, in any aspect of my life, which is why I loved working in I.T. There is no subjectivity in software programming. One plus one equals two, and that's all that mattered. If your stuff didn't work, you sucked, and if it worked flawlessly, you were a rock star.  Your work marketed itself. 

Here, in the publishing world, you have to shine that spotlight on yourself as if your life depends on it. When I see a friend who congratulates me on my first book, I literally feel like sticking my head underground. I quickly say thanks and change the subject. I mean, I love my book, but I'm no Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This is my latest weakness. 

On top of that, I'm embarrassed about having released an error-filled version of Dramani. Some friends had emailed me about errors they had found, and I replied with a thank you and an apology, begging them to let me pay them back. They never accepted my offer; they were so supportive. They told me they loved the story but that it just needed polish. They inspired me to keep editing. 

Chuga chuga, chuga chuga.....three months later I finally finished the final, FINAL, F-I-N-A-L 2013 version of Dramani.

It's like when someone comes to your house for the first time, unexpectedly, and sees your family's daily mess all over the place, weeks of pile-up because you've been too busy, dirty bathroom and all. You feel mortified, even though you love your house...you just haven't had the time to clean. You almost can't wait to invite them over again so they can see how beautiful your house really is, and how much you actually do take care of it.

Except this is worse...I invited them over and STILL didn't clean up. Ugh...sloppy!

On the upside...I learned my lesson. I'm taking care of my second book the way my first book should have been, so that when readers see it they will enjoy the story, the characters, the drama, and not cringe on my misuse of commas and semicolons. I'm taking my time, and applying all my lessons learned, so that readers can enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it...and maybe hook me up with some good reviews.

I fell flat on my face and was humbled with my first book. Now I'm dusting myself off and am ready to walk again.

3 comments:

  1. Tanya this is how we learn! Love your sense of humor, I really enjoyed your first book, can't wait for the sequel. Excited about your new book coming out please keep me posted.

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  2. Thanks Stephanie. It's been a bumpy ride so far, but I'm hanging on!

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  3. Thanks for sharing! I think that's one of the reason that I DIDN'T self publish. I don't know the first thing about getting myself out there and I don't like to draw attention to myself. However, it's becoming more and more the author's responsibility. Awesome that you kept going though! The little bumps are what help us grow!

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