And this Wednesday it’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.
They say when you reach the top you’ve got to stretch back down and help others up the ladder. There’s also a thing, or there should be, of when you reach the bottom, or make a mistake and fall headfirst down a well, whereby you can share what you’ve learned with others, in the hope that they might avoid the same mistake.
I want to share the Number One mistake I’ve made as an Indie author so far, and my Hot Tip solution.
I’d worked on my book a long time when I started the process towards publishing. I think I “caught a glimpse of the finish line.” I became too eager to be done with the process, in other words, I started to rush. At the exact time I should have been slowing down and ticking all the boxes, I was busy planning the book launch and making sure the food was organized, and I skipped an important step.
“It’s harrowing independently publishing,” said a fellow writer friend. “No one understands what Indies go through to reach this point. It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. We are running on adrenaline, on this super high, and then we crash,” said another author. I had heard it was an insane amount of work. Yeah, it was.
Sometimes you fall down, you get to see a new perspective — in the gutter, looking up at the stars. ~ Chuck Wendig
I worked with a designer over the look of the bookmarks and the number cards. That finish line, that had always been so far off in the distance, was so close. I began to run, then sprint. The days between me and the deadline of the book launch flashed past like marker flags, no sooner seen than forgotten.
Number One Mistake: I set an unrealistic deadline and rushed the end product trying to meet it.
I was staying up late and getting up early, and going everywhere at a run in between. I think I knew then, that I was not fully in control, but I didn’t want to admit it.
James Altucher said, “There’s a two-step solution to blame: a. it’s your fault. It’s always your fault. b. Have a Plan B on every decision.” I had no plan B.
A good friend who is a writer, advised me wisely, to ask for a galley of the finished typeset book to check before it went to print or digital publication.I did ask for a copy to proof. But did I read the whole book from cover to cover? No, I didn’t read the whole thing. I had read it five million times, I had paid a professional proofreader a lot of money, I had done what needed to be done. I really didn’t think I needed to read it again. I ran an eye over the pages, and they looked great, but I didn’t proofread every word. I had set a date for the launch. The printers needed to have already started printing to get the job done on time. I looked at that finish line and I wanted to cross. So, I approved it.
After my book was published and launched, my sister was the first person to read, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta,’ and she emailed to say it was full of errors: words missing, words repeated, etc.
One friend thought the fault might have lain with the typesetter. “As a former book editor it sounds to me like he had problems with file management/version control.”
But to my dismay, when I checked the final version I had sent to the typesetters, it did have those errors present. That was when I realized what I had done. It was my mistake. As another author friend rightly said, “You need to own this part of it, too.” He was right. How did that happen?
“Another thing to consider,” Kiwi author, Donna Blaber said, “is if you accidentally added in mistakes when making amendments.” This is a very real possibility and is actually the explanation I’m leaning towards now. After some ferreting around in my files, I’m unable to find a more recent version of the manuscript.
After all the careful editing, and re-editing, and professional help times two, I still managed to send a manuscript to the printers that was full of mistakes.
When I went back to talk to the typesetter, he had some good advice which I pocketed in order to repeat it here. Listen up, Indies, and listen well. This is my hot tip to save yourself time, money and anguish.
Hot Tip: Find a local professional proofreader and pay them to check your precious book before and after typesetting.
Excellent Plan B. Face. Egg. Saved.
A good friend remarked, “You will get there. In the end, believe me, the process is forgotten and the only thing that matters — the only thing! — is the final book.”
I thought that was wonderful. The only thing that matters is the book! Don’t you agree?
Talk to you later,
Yvette K. Carol
Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. — George Orwell
I always say that a creative career is you putting a bucket on your head and trying to headbutt your way through a brick wall. Sometimes you get through, but most times? The wall wins. Quit now. Save yourself the headache.~ Chuck Wendig
If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. – Dorothy Parker