Friday, April 11, 2014

J = "Just Get it Out There and Fix it Later" is Bad Advice

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I know it still needs work, but I’ve gone over it again and again, and I just can’t wait any longer. I can hire an editor to go over it after I have some profits from sales.”

Not only is that foolish, but it’s just bad business. You only get one chance to make a first impression. In regular life, you might meet someone who makes a bad first impression on you, but who gradually rises to a better status in your eyes as you get to know her better. Perhaps she was having a bad day when you first saw her, and wasn’t acting in her typical cheery fashion.

In the book world, you’re not likely to have someone give you a second chance if the first impression isn’t a favorable one. The reader gave you a chance already and didn’t care for what she read. She may have paid good money to not care for what she read. She’s not going to give you another dime if she can help it, because she does not know you personally, does not have to interact with you on a daily basis, and owes you nothing. She may even insist YOU owe HER something: a refund for a not-edited, poorly written book.


If you’re waiting for profits to pay for post-publishing edits, you’re doing it all backward.

52 comments:

  1. Excellent point! Do it right or kill your career from the start.

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    1. You get one debut. One. The public will always remember it—more so if it's a bad one.

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  2. Another piece of good advice. "You only get one chance to make a first impression" is so true! You're really on a roll with the A-Z Challenge.

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    1. Thank you, Silver Fox! I must have been functioning with all grey cells present and accounted for when I got my posts ready.

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  3. Good point. Only put out your best work!

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    1. Indeed, why would it even be an option?

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  4. It also shows disrespect for your reader who spent money on your product. You wouldn't sell someone a dress that had different length sleeves and crooked seams. Why would you sell them a garbage book? And then expect them not to trash you?

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    1. Beautiful example. No one would even pick a garment like that off the rack, and would be indignant that someone had the nerve to try and sell it. And yet, their not-ready book is different somehow...

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  5. I think I blew my first impression, Lynda. I wasn't self-confident enough to believe I could do any better, and being nagged by friends to get it out there meant having the strength to disregard the 'advice'. Unfortunately, I'm weak.
    I need a psycho-analyst!

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    1. I'll psychoanalyze you for free, Fanny. :)

      Just as friends can be the best cheerleaders, they can also unknowingly give us bad advice while meaning well.

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  6. I stumbled on a blog tour post for a debut book. Adorable cover, nice author bio, the website looked good (I clicked on their link). The problem was the excerpt the author shared for the blog tour. In a handful of paragraphs, I noticed grammatical errors, weak phrasing, a ton of filler words. You can do everything right to promo your book, but if the writing doesn't hold up, you have a problem. They needed an editor; it's just not enough to go through the work yourself and self-publish.

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    1. Thank goodness for excerpts! They've saved me from many a bad purchase.

      And what a shame, too, that the author went through all the other steps with a blog tour, nice cover, etc., and failed in the book's foundation: good writing.

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  7. It's true. Your first impression better be your strongest one, and the best to be sure. I suppose that's why I waited so long to get out there, because I wanted my first pages to be poetic.

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    1. Patience in these areas is rewarded in so many ways! First book, first line, first paragraph, and more. All combine to make the whole package great or not.

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  8. I think people succumb to fatigue. Writing a book takes so much longer and is so much more difficult than people anticipate. I think people don't have the self-confidence to keep going with a project. A couple of rejection letters, the fear of what a professional editor would say to them, or the fear that a piece will never get any better, leads people to throw it out there and walk away.

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    1. Fatigue is probably a big factor, Elizabeth. I talked with someone on Goodreads who was in her 60s and afraid she'd never publish before she died, so she put her book out there when it was nowhere near ready. She also wondered why her blog followers and "cheerleader" friends would have encouraged her if it had been "that bad" and I had to explain that her friends were cheerleaders but not editors, and unless she was in terrible health, 60 was not an age to worry about, as far as dying before publishing. Her entire writing and publishing experience was based on fear and fatigue.

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  9. Profits? Can you define that?

    Great advice, Lynda. Take your time. Do it right.

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    1. lol, profits...I've heard about them from traveling strangers, bringing tales from faraway lands.

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  10. Hey maybe doing it backward is a challenge? Let me see how low I can go before I can rise above my stupidity and shine? You know, nothing better than a big comeback and all that...lol

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    1. Ooh, the comeback is highly underrated.

      I mean...thou hast a journey to make, and if thy foolishness of youth hath caused you to stumble, then persevere and proceed with utmost haste and care to the local scribe, who shall strike your words from the scroll, burn it in the fire, and begin anew.

      Comeback, baby! Comeback!

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  11. Oh I agree after being a reader of a book being hailed as a must read by goodreads turned into an absolute mess. I blogged about the bad read once and had mixed comments. I am not claiming to be a perfect writer. My fingers often work faster than my brain I say- especially after age 50. Great post!

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    1. I'm a firm believer in informing people when a book isn't ready for public consumption. Most people will not bother to reread a book that was written poorly and then edited afterward. The bad impression has already been made.

      It kills me when someone blogs or reviews about a bad book and others counter with, "Well, you had a misspelling in your blog post! You're not perfect!" or some such nonsense. A person pays good money for a book; nobody is paying to read a review or blog post. If I'm paying for it, it should be as close to perfect as possible.

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  12. When I write, even if it's a mere email or comment, I correct my errors as soon as I see them. I'm mortified when I miss something.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Same here! I was so relieved when Facebook added an "edit" option for comments. I always feel that it makes me look like a bad editor if I can't monitor my own writing.

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  13. Stick to your canon/folklore facts and you can't go wrong!

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  14. Very true :) And it is bad for the story too, many times. That is what always bothered me about NaNoWriMo. There are things you can't fix later without pulling the entire thing apart.
    Cheers!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Tales of colors
    MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

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    1. A lot of authors have trouble with the idea of NaNoWriMo for that very reason. It's great for motivation and the daily discipline of writing, but rushing never did anyone any favors.

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  15. Hi Lynda.

    Such wise words. This has been confirmed by Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar. She's an acclaimed pawblisher. Do it right the first time. If it doesn't feel right in your heart, it invariably wont feel right to that person reading it over.

    Enjoy your weekend, Lynda.

    Gary

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    1. Gary! How wonderful to hear from you. I'm going to guess Penny is napping off the excitement of the week.

      There are some things that can't be rushed. Good writing is one of those things.

      I hope your weekend is relaxing and fun.

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  16. Hi, Lynda.
    Thanks so much for the follow. It's great to meet here, and to return the favor.
    You're spot on about many writers' attitude. And there are so many who don't even have their work edited by an object pair of eyes before sending it off because they believe it's the next best seller.

    Have a great weekend.
    Looking forward to reading more over here.

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    1. Thanks, Robin! I think everyone assumes writing a book is as simple as writing. Period. Not writing, rewriting, rewriting (say that ten times for effect), editing, tweaking, and THEN publishing. And dismal reviews are often blamed on everything but the writing. Sigh.

      I liked every post I saw when I browsed around your blog. Plus, the chocolate gives me an immediate sense of peacefulness...

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    1. Say that a little louder...but let me call my kids in the room first. ;)

      Thanks for stopping by! I've been enjoying your blog so, so much.

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  18. Great advice, Lynda! I think I started submitting to agents BEFORE my first novel was ready. It had been through a few beta readers, but I hadn't given it the major overhaul it needed. And it was met with rejection. Now I realize, patience is the key, even when all I want to do is get it out there. Thanks for the reminder! :)

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    1. It is SO hard to wait for anything, especially when excitement is high. But the reward is so much greater.

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  19. Great wise words indeed, thanks for stopping by my blog.

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    1. Thank YOU, Rosie! I'm really enjoying your blog; you're a wonderful promoter of others.

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  20. The main reason I've never done a NaNoWriMo is because the thought of just writing on and on... non-stop (even if it's drivel) scares me to death! I'm the kind who stops and corrects everything there and then... which takes lots of time...
    I'd love to do it for the experience though, but I'd HAVE to be thoroughly prepared... but I don't think it's gonna happen... LOL
    Great advice!

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    1. The intensity of NaNoWriMo does scare off a lot of people. I think it would drive me crazy, too, to not stop to fix things. I mean, corrections are my thing...ignoring them is just not part of the wiring of my brain! I would need a National Chapter Writing Month instead.

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  21. Good post, Lynda. What has troubled me as well is reading a debut novel where there's an editor listed, and STILL the book is filled with typos. Research before you hire an editor!

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    1. I hear you, Martha. So many people go for the lowest price and never consider that the "editor" they hired is simply someone who loves to read and knows a few grammar rules. It makes for some pretty awful books out there.

      My "G" post was about getting free sample edits/evals from editors you're considering, and I was surprised to find that a lot of people were not aware that legitimate editors offer this service. Shopping around for the best fit is essential.

      I don't know how I missed your blog so far, but I'll be sure to check it out, especially since your A to Z posts are about cheese!

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  22. Couldn't agree more. Well said.

    Best regards,
    Elizabeth

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  23. Amen sister, Edit first publish 183rd

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    1. Don't you think that's a little soon? I was thinking 195th, at least.

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  24. Back the freight train up there, sister! You mean to tell me paying customers aren't supposed to edit for me?!?!
    I'm kidding. As always, great post!

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    1. Believe it or not, the reviews are for the readers, not the author critique. Silly Elle. :)

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  25. This advice I will be following. Thanks.

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  26. You're probably suggesting getting beta readers before publication, but where's the fun in that?

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    1. It's not supposed to be fun. I think you're doing it wrong. Don't tell people it's supposed to be fun!

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