In recent years, the publishing industry has changed dramatically. Authors are now afforded the luxury of self-publishing across various platforms, and this seems to be the route most seldom taken by writers today. If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you know I’m very opinionated on both sides of the fence about this. However, until one of my many submission requests gets accepted and I have representation for my books, I myself fall into the category of a “self-published” author, and that’s just fine by me.
I recently went through a name-changing rebranding nightmare (term used loosely), and I had to resubmit my updated manuscripts to Amazon and other platforms the books are on. This was good for two reasons – first, I needed to update the book covers so my name change would accurately reflect my last name, and second, it gave me a chance to resubmit the interior as well. I needed to alter the interior anyway since my name was listed in there too, but it also allowed me to update the book contents and make other revisions in regards to grammar, punctuation, etc.
My editor is pretty good at what she does (of course I’m biased), but even she is human and misses something from time to time. I found one or two small things in my first novel, so I adjusted them and resubmitted the files with the new revisions. Upon doing this, I decided to take a quick glance at my second novel, where I once again found some minor adjustments that could be made. This got me to thinking…
Now, bear in mind, I have no intention of resubmitting my files every time I notice something I think could be adjusted to make it better, but on the other hand, why shouldn’t I do just that if the book will be better as a result?
I consider myself a perfectionist when it comes to my books, and although I know my books aren’t perfect, I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading and re-reading during the editing process. I typically read the book through about three or four times (yes, that many times) after I get it back from my test readers, who also catch things that they mention to me. Then I send it off to my editor, where the real work begins. After I get it back from her, I read it another three or four times to make sure nothing gets missed. But, ultimately, something always does get missed no matter how many times it gets looked over.
Being a self-published author means I can change anything about my books whenever I see fit to do so. I’ve probably resubmitted my files about eight times each for my first two novels, but when does enough become enough? The answer to that question may be “never”.
Until I hit that magical jackpot and land with a major publisher (fingers crossed), I’m afforded a luxury ‘big-time’ authors aren’t privy to… I can continue to make my book better. Once Clive Cussler publishes a new novel, do you think he reads through the books and says, “Hey, I just noticed there were no quotation marks at the end of Dirk Pitt’s sentence”?
No, he doesn’t, because it’s a logistical nightmare for the publishing company and other printing issues.
And just in case you weren’t aware, even best-selling authors like Cussler, Clancy, and Patterson all have glaring mistakes in their books, so it’s not just a self-publishing dilemma. But those of us who self-publish have the opportunity to do something about it…so why aren’t more of us taking advantage of that?
One of my pet peeves about self-publishing is that anyone can do it, and it seems like nowadays almost everyone does. It’s not that I have an issue with someone wanting to publish a book, but I do take exception to the fact that a large portion of them are put out with no editing whatsoever, which, by my own admission, I probably spend too much time thinking about. I take great pride in trying to put out the best possible product I can, and if this means resubmitting my book files every time I see a comma missing or a run-on sentence that could be shortened, I’m going to take the opportunity to do so.
Am I being to anal about my books? Or am I justified in my own little way for trying to ensure I offer the best book available to my readers? Do any authors reading this ever notice things that could be changed, and do you change them, or are you content with the book that’s already out there and you see no need to change it after the fact of being published?
Creating an enjoyable novel for readers is the goal of every author, but in the words of Nathaniel Hawthorne… “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!