Monday, November 12, 2012

The world of writing is a marathon, not a sprint.

I am not a big fan of a lot of things about the world that we now live in. People have gotten ruder and more disrespectful. Everybody seems to be in a hurry to get someplace no matter who they cut off or derail along the way. Just about everything can be thrown into a microwave. Places offer 5 second credit approvals. And then there is the advent of the rise of the indie publishing scene where you push a button and your book is available to the world by the time you get back with that bowl of popcorn.

These days, people expect everything to just happen overnight. That is a problem. No, this will not be another article about editing issues. I have had my say on that as have many of my guests (one of the best being Catie Rhodes last month). No, this is about writers thinking that all that needs to happen is that they send in a story and it should be up and live in a week.

Many of you know that my wife is the owner of May December Publications where I work as an editor as well as the label my books are published under. We have lost more than a couple of titles when authors believed that their books were not produced quickly enough. First, let me say that I was only sad to see one of those titles slip away, but not enough to sacrifice my desire to produce something that looked and read clean.

A great deal of work goes into a book once it leaves an author's hands. The editing alone is can be hundreds of hours worth of work. Depending on the author, that task can be epic. I am blessed with a few writers who are very meticulous and have great test readers already in place. Their books often arrive so clean that I can get lost in reading it and have to backtrack and go back to work editing. (Chantal Boudreau and Steen Langstrup come to mind. I simply love reading their stuff and have to remind myself that I am actually working.)

So, if you are a writer, I don't care who you are published through, you need to relax. While much of the world has sped up, and even the publishing world has gone into turbo mode, if you want quality, then it takes time. Now if you are satisfied with being mediocre and don't care what people think when they read your book, by all means, just push the button. But when review after review mentions the absolute horror to read that is your poorly edited work, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

And if your working with an editor or publisher and they ask you to re-work something, do it. Work with them. Communicate. What you should not do is take the file they send you, delete it, and then just send back your original work minus all the edits and notes that they have sent you and a few spelling corrections. It is possible that your high-minded story idea actually goes nowhere and confuses the reader. Or perhaps you have decided that every sentence is a paragraph, but since you are NOT Cormac McCarthy, your "artistic" idea may just come across as poorly written. And if you have butchered your dialog to the point where it reads like a bad junior high English paper, maybe you should read it out loud and ask, "Do people really talk like that?"

So, rant over. An update on my NaNoWriMo project...

That Ghoul Ava and The Zombie Queen is around 20,000 words long so far. I will start now, but I am asking for a few Beta readers. This is a different sort of story for me and I want to know if I am on to something here or if I should stick to zombies. I must confess that the second DAKOTA book had to be put on hold. It is important that the DAKOTA books maintain their authenticity to the era. I have to be able to stop everything and research. Sometimes that research takes hours to find the answers. You can't NaNo a project like that. However, I am committed to a sequel to DAKOTA coming out in 2013.

Here's to your Monday...I hope it goes well for you and I will return on Wednesday with a confession on two people who I killed in the new DEAD, as well as an announcement about our big contest where you can win a free book a month in 2013 from MDP. 

1 comment:

  1. I need to brush up on my editing skills. I couldn't agree with you more about people wanting everything instantly. I also blame all these reality talent shows that remove hard work, blood sweat and tears for instant gratification for shallow masses brainwashed into mistaking hack for talent.

    Great post as always. Shame I can't reblog it via wordpress.