Yesterday, I binge-read. Yes, you can binge on that. In specific (for this post), I explored a website of self-published e-books offering sample-before-purchase, and free stories. The author sets the price.
I happened upon one with a rather intriguing premise. Completely falling for the folly of expense, I also thought the higher cost probably meant better quality, or at least someone more confident. Too confident perhaps?
This isn’t a review so I elect not to say more about the specific story. My point here is the sadness I felt. The description hyped me up for a really interesting story and the writing itself proved…okay, but not enough to finish chapter two. What really struck me as sad was the disservice to her idea. A decent editor, even a decent run through decent crit groups, could have made it sparkle.
Granted, I’m not publishable material yet, but I even catch things she needed to when I edit. Another reason it made me sad, despite her putting half the effort in a good idea and publishing it, was what that sort of behavior does to the self-publishing market. Every book out there with less work only makes it harder for other, thoroughly cared for self-published books to gain merit.
For all of us that consider self-publishing, I ask (myself included), treat it as though you intend to publish it at a big house. If you simply cannot take over the job of a good editor for your book, at least join a crit group, or several crit groups. There are many free ones. Your book will thank you for it. You’ll give self-publishing a better name. Put in the work it deserves, no shortcuts.
So where does my title come in for this post? I’ll tell you! These thoughts led me to consider my current revision in progress. I’ve never revised a novel. I only recently finished a rough draft for one, beginning to end. I often hear other writers complain about revisions as well.
But I remembered something I read once and I really wish I could find a direct quote and source. Maybe someone will be kind enough to enlighten me in comments? Either way, this writer said, “A good editor is like a day at the spa. Your manuscript comes back feeling more fit, trim, and right with the world than either of you thought possible.” Basically, editing is your manuscript’s day at the spa, not the chop shop. While some cutting is inevitable, think of it more like overly long toe nails, not body parts.
At this point, I realized, if I ever self-publish I want to know how to do the editor’s job too, no excuses. If I’m going to forgo the name brand package deal, I want to make sure I have as many of the same ingredients as I can. Side note: I’m assuming small fish in a big publishing house AKA you have to do most of your own marketing anyway, so that’s a given.
If nothing else, it’ll only make my manuscript look that much better when I’m ready to ship it out.
So, take your manuscript to the spa, make her fit, trim, and more right with the world! Learn the art of manuscript masseusery and make that baby sparkle!
*shoves at Twilight* NO, not like that.
…I’ve never been to the spa T~T