Clueless Jodie, Reporting For Duty

FortuneMaybe I was naïve, but when I sold my first book, I had no idea what amount of work I still had to come.

None.

Edits, sure—I knew I’d have things to change. But I was clueless about the extent of those edits. And everyone’s experience isn’t the same, but I’d already done major changes on the story because I’d gotten an R&R — a revise and resubmit, and had almost doubled the amount of words in the thing. So I figured I’d have some pretty basic edits, but nope.  Pretty significant developmental edits. Line edits (more than one round). Copy edits.  I chalk part of that up to being a newbie at the time.  The thing was ROUGH and needed help. Luckily, I had a fab editor who made it a great learning experience.   (Side note:  as I worked with that same editor over the next two years, the edits got easier as I learned not to make the same mistakes over and over again.  Less weepy characters, not so much bobble-headed nodding.  And if his peen jerks that much, he’s probably got a medical condition. Got it.)

By the time I finished with all the edits, I was SO sick of the story and it sounded like so much garbage to me—stilted and boring.  Which, by the way, I hear from other authors – you spend so much time taking it all apart, breaking it down to specific phrases and words, that you can’t see the whole thing anymore.

So, anyway, you finish edits and you’re pretty much done, right?

WRONG.

Art fact sheets. Back cover copy. Updating your website. Promotional blog posts and review requests and social media and … it just goes on.  In my personal experience, writing the draft of the book is maybe….30% of what you do to get it from idea to published / promoted. 50% if you include edits.

The rest, I was unprepared for.

What did I forget? Writing is a business. And just like any other business, it will only flourish if you make sure your name is known so you can draw in new customers. Gotta have a good product first, for sure, but you can have the best one out there and no one will know about it if you don’t do the rest.

It’s definitely something I need to work on.

How about you? What percentage of getting a book from idea to published/promoted is actually writing, in your opinion?   

OH….PS. One other thing I didn’t know about writing? Is how many friends I’d get from doing it. Other writers, readers, bloggers, editors. It is, in my opinion, one of the best benefits ever. Well, that, plus getting to read your friends’ books early. #score


Comments

Clueless Jodie, Reporting For Duty — 3 Comments

  1. I’m so glad you explained this – “Which, by the way, I hear from other authors – you spend so much time taking it all apart, breaking it down to specific phrases and words, that you can’t see the whole thing anymore.” This happens to me each time and I always think that I must be wreaking the story and not just losing the ability to see the whole thing.

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only who had bobbled headed nodders in her book. Been there, still working on it. I have other over-used actions as well. In the edits for my first book, my editor highlighted in yellow every time I used “smile” or “smiled” or “smiling” Apparently my characters were very happy because there was a lot of yellow on that manuscript. I eliminated or changed as many as I could, and believe me, I wasn’t smiling by the time I was done. It’s something I watch for now, along with the excessive nodding of course!

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