So, you’re probably going to think I’m being wishy-washy, but I swear, I’m not. I’m going to have to edit The Gem of Meruna.
Now, hear me out.
Last week, I said I would only edit it if I found a lot of grammar errors or problems, and I cannot, in good conscience, rerelease it in its current state.
Not that it’s bad, but I’ve learned so much about the craft of writing over the past five years, and the state this book is in just…falls way short of the mark.
For those of you who’ve read it, don’t worry. The story isn’t changing. It’s just sentence structure and stuff like that. It needs tightened up. Honestly, it could probably stand to lose about 5,000 words, over all, just by fixing the lengthy sentences and losing the few instances of passive voice.
But this is a good thing.
It means that I’m learning more and more about writing as time goes by.
Which, in my opinion, is how you tell a good writer from a bad one. Good writers keep trying to improve.
Bad ones…think they don’t need to. They think their work is the best in existence, a gift to the world, and to edit or tweak it, or change their process at all is tantamount to blasphemy.
But that’s bullshit.
Bad writers can write good stories, and good writers can write bad stories. That’s not what I’m getting at, here.
The day you stop learning and growing as a writer (or as a person) is the day that you become a bad writer. Even if your stuff is gold, there is always room for improvement or experimentation.
And there is always room for editing.
Of course, at some point, you have to pull the trigger, and release your work upon the world, but it needs polished, first. I’ve read several books lately that could have stood to undergo one or two, or five, more rounds of edits. (I won’t name them, because I’m not here to trash talk other writers. My point is…edit your fucking books. Lol.)
Anyway, this will be the last rerelease I do. Any future books will be edited, published, and left the fuck alone.
The first time around for Meruna was a train wreck, though. Lol. (And I need it rereleased under my married name so it’ll be on my Amazon Author page with the rest of my books.)
You see, I went through a vanity press, because I didn’t know better. At that point, I didn’t know what that meant. I assumed it was a normal publisher, and that everything they did was, well, normal.
Not at all.
They did no professional edit.
I arranged the cover art myself. (A.K.A. My husband, an incredibly talented artist, did it.) A traditional publisher (what I thought I was doing) would have done editing and had a cover done by their own artists.
They formatted and printed the book, and charged me for their services. Since I didn’t know that isn’t how the publishing industry is supposed to work, I gladly signed and paid.
Then, I regretted it when…nothing happened.
Because, unless I paid them more money, they weren’t about to do any marketing.
All this was in the contract, of course, making it completely legal.
But I didn’t know, at the time, that that wasn’t how it would have happened with a traditional publisher.
The big difference is that traditional publishers and self publishers make their money off sales.
Vanity presses make their money off the authors.
Which is why I still get calls from them, five and a half years later, trying to talk me into paying them for more (subpar) marketing, primarily by talking over me and not letting me get a word in edgewise.
The worst part is that…once I realized my mistake, I was super embarrassed. I didn’t know any better. I was just a noob, trying to get a book published. But I was mortified. I didn’t want to tell anyone. I was terrified that someone would ask how I got published. But I should’ve talked about it.
I’m certainly not the only person who’s done this. I know of others who’ve had much MUCH worse experiences with vanity presses than I had. So, I’m definitely not alone in this. I could have been commiserating with them so much sooner, helping myself to feel less awful about it, and actually dealing with the problem.
Now, this isn’t where I intended to go with this blog, but I think people need to know that vanity presses are not the same as self or traditional publishers. People need to know how/why they’re different. (I’ll talk about what I was going to talk about next week.)
So, learn from my mistake.
If a publisher requires money upfront, run.
They should pay you, not the other way around.
Of course, if you self publish, the cost of editing, cover design, formatting, and a copyright is on you. Some of those things, you can do yourself, but the cost is on you regardless. But the printing and distribution costs come out of the purchase price of the book. Not your pocket.
Keep that in mind.
Keep reading. Keep writing.
P.S. – Fun fact, for those of you who came here via my IG or FB…The picture I chose for this is especially fitting for me this week. I got bit by either a tick carrying lyme disease or a brown recluse spider…eight goddamn times. Two of the bites did that whole…bullseye thing. Red ring with bruising around the outside (one the size of a fruit can, and the other the size of a half dollar coin). Feels great…
Antibiotics are helping, though. So, yeah.
But yeah, the two things have the same symptoms, apparently, and look pretty similar. The main difference is that tick bites usually have a tick in them, and brown recluse bites usually happen in pairs (at most) and turn necrotic. None of those things happened. I found no tick. There was no necrosis.
So…who fucking knows. All I know is that I want to rip the skin off my legs to stop them from itching. Yay!