Saturday, October 29, 2011

Do you see me now?

Yesterday my beta reader returned Shadows on Stone. I've been re-reading it with her notes in hand. There were no major issues though she pointed out a couple continuity problems-- minor plot lines I started but never wrapped up.

After pondering the possibilities, I started at the beginning. Page one. With a red pen. Several hours later, I'm up to page sixty-six...out of one hundred and eighty two pages. I suspect it will be a while before I finish.

Every author I know will tell you they find cringe-worthy issues if they read their work after a considerable time period has gone by. Then, every error, stupid mistake, awkwardly constructed sentence will leap out at the author, seizing them by the throat and screeching, "Do you see me now?"

You might ask, why doesn't the author set the work aside, then? Why not allow it to simmer on the back burner? I suspect it has something to do with income. Lost income. If the book is sitting on the side, it's not earning money for the author. It's as simple as that. Could it possibly be a better book if it simmered a while? Yeah, probably.

But in the current publishing climate, a book that is sitting only generates a loss of income and a loss of face time. You know what that is--it's the presence of your book cover prominently displayed so your readers remember who you are! In the electronic book market, with zillions of books to choose from, a lull of several months between books can mean the difference between some sales and a lot of sales.

There is a reason some authors seem to be banging out book after book. Every new book places their name out there to remind readers of their books--not just the newest one, but their entire backlist--because in the electronic world, books never go out of print. They're always available.

Unless a writer has an enormous following (J.K Rowling and Nora Roberts, I'm looking at you), he or she will spend an inordinate amount of time battling for that precious face time. It might be on the social media such as Twitter and Facebook. It might be on Amazon, Sony, Fictionwise and other electronic bookstores. But wherever it is, it's more valuable than gold.

No one knows what the magic formula is. Some authors take part in blog tours. Some spam their "friends" on the social media. Some post excerpts from their books--or have special pages for their characters. Whatever they choose to do, none of it matters if the finished book is a hodge-podge of errors, typos, and even in one case, part of a chapter missing.

I could submit Shadows on Stone as is. But now that I am reading it, the occasional typos and errors and odd word choices are screaming. What are they saying?

"Do you see me now?"



  1. 'Face time'? I do what I what, how I want and when I want when it comes to writing. I don't stress over 'face time' because in the end real life is way more important than writing. Writing is just something you do for extra cash. It's not real life. Only the pretentious think it is.

  2. Yep. That's pretty much my take on it. But it is a factor somewhere along the line. Especially for a newbie with absolutely no name recognition.

    At this point, for me, my readers will either find me...or won't. Living is more important than stressing over sales.

  3. I'm with AJ on this one; I'd rather put out a book I'm completely satisfied with, rather than stressing out ala 'will people forget about me? OMG!'

    Loyal readers will always be on the lookout for their favorite authors.

  4. No kidding! Actually working on a book, and getting it right, takes time. I simply cannot bang out one right after another.
    Pretty soon they'll all sound alike.

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