Why did I relaunch my book?

What a journey indeed. I have written about it in depth and detail more than once. The question was asked of me what are you trying to do here with your blog? My answer still is, trying to figure out all those things I don't know I don't know. I have stabbed at learning the parts I know I don't know. No fatal stabbings yet, I think closer to a short finger nail clip of a stabbing. But it is headed in the right direction, forward.

I remember going through all the edits the first time around in Firetok. I begged all the help I could get and did the rest myself. Published and went through a couple of edits and proofs to find the final proof had mistakes which were already corrected previously. Yes this really happens. I was so disappointed but it was too late. People were ordering it, it was being shipped. It was too late. So I will say, as  thrilled as I was to get the bugger finished, it was still not perfect. Letting myself off the hook for perfection, it wasn't even as good as I felt it could have been. I am no stranger to do it yourself. It would have been an un-publishable mess without the help I did get. Sometimes do it yourself has its limitations. Sometimes? Let's say all-times for me.

The single biggest improvement? A professional edit, rinse and repeat. Edit sounds like a singular action, it wasn't a single pass. Multiple passes, each one getting more critical and precise. Absolutely well beyond a do it yourself edit. I could not have looked at anything I wrote at this level. I know the editors especially want to blow the horn against not hiring an editor but when their next sentence is "hire me" it deserves skepticism. I will swear under oath, having someone passionate about the book using her bionic reading eyes to sharpen my "prose" to a point, made all the difference. Passionate enough to care but caring enough to be honest. There is a requirement to add to your list of desires when seeking help on a book.

Specific examples, I write looooooong hand in huge masses of words without periods roughly resembling pages. I also tend to use the same word multiple times in subsequent sentences. I am in redundancy rehab and am inching ever so slowly toward recovery but elimination of "just used" words is an ongoing struggle. Every time I  touch my keyboard I tell myself "one word at a time". This is a blatant lie I always have to go back afterward and figure out how to make what I am trying to say publicly acceptable or maybe I will call it "readable".

One of the bigger things I feel was cleaned up I will call tense, not necessarily because of my vast writing jargon knowledge but because I need to call it something. The words had and that. I won't say they were banned from my book but specifically when I scan through my own writing and find either of them it has become a red flag. For the most part when I used the word had, there was a better way say whatever it was I said. Removal of the word and restructuring the sentence dependably led to a more clear and current way of conveying my intent without making it seem like something that had happened in the past. ... ( for example -my intent without making it seem like something happening in the past). Have I made a complete recovery? No but I am on the path to redemption.

Enough on that. I did the format for the original eBook and paper back. I could not figure out how to get the page numbers right. You don't traditionally keep a 1 on page one, blah blah blah. I screwed with it long enough to get frustrated. The obvious fix?  I just didn't use any. It didn't bother me or many other people, but the reason I did it was less than acceptable. I am always making compromises with myself, yet most aspects of this book were very deliberate. Deleting the page numbers was more of an act of frustration at the time it was done.

Another minor thing which was more of an irritation were quotation marks. Somewhere in the 1.5 million edits I ended up with quotation marks at the beginning of sentences larger than their counter parts. It was only in sections but it was inconsistent and supremely irritating. The irritation stemmed largely from all the kings horses and all the kings men not being able to figure out how to correct it. Sounds easy? It wasn't. I still couldn't fix it this time around and had to use a life line. Yes that is my final answer.

These are some of the big things I believe will lead to the story being more readable and hopefully reaching a bigger audience. I believe now as always the story is not what people expect going in. One of the biggest compliments I have found even with the feedback from the advance team is how my vision for what I was trying to convey seems to have worked. To borrow a quote from Bibiana Krall,

 " I got a bit lost in the beginning, then boom. I was there in the story."


One final big change I will mention  here is the generosity of my friends (including Bibiana) who answered the call for help on this relaunch endeavor. I will take more time to thank them and recognize them in a much more formal manner at a later time. As always, thanks for reading and supporting the blog. I encourage you to join the discussion and enhance our journey. And of course now is the time to say, go read Firetok. Please.


cinthiaritchie.com said...

I love what you said about having an editor/second eyes: "Passionate enough to care but caring enough to be honest. There is a requirement to add to your list of desires when seeking help on a book."
Being honest is the key. I think that many writers don't want honesty, they say that they do but what they really want is praise. So glad you pointed out the importance of honesty, brutal as it can sometimes be.
P.S. Nice post, and glad you had a chance to revisit your book and make improvements. It's a good lesson for us all.

juliasatu said...

Just do the same thing again for your next book. Firetok was an engaging read and very well written.

Gordon A. Wilson said...

I think you are right. Brutal honesty. Even then there were times I had to go with my gut but most times I take the suggestions. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Michael Henderson said...

You've learned a very important lesson that most self-published authors don't. That is, not only are you an author, but a publisher. Publisher means proper editing, professional cover, and professional typesetting.

For example, you could not figure out page numbering because you were using your word processor to "typeset," and you didn't know how to tell it not to put page numbers on the first page, or how to break it into sections. It's complicated. That's why self-published authors need help to do it right. (Next time try Scribus. It's free. There's a learning curve, but I made some videos about it. I also know a guy who does a real fine job, and is inexpensive)

Most self-published books are unreadable because their authors do not know how to write in general, and do not know how to structure a book. Instead of getting help, which I admit is expensive, they just put it up. There are very powerful free aids to writers, such as Grammarly, which really helps me. (It's not perfect, but it's good) All that is why self-publishing has its well-deserved bad reputation.

Congratulations on figuring it out and relaunching your book.

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Michael you've hit it on the head, and I have done numerous articles on this very point. I set out to write a book because I wanted to write. I never wanted to be a typesetter, marketer, editor or a blah blah blah. I wanted to write books, I call it the non writing part of being an author which feels about 70% non writing. Thanks for commenting.