Thursday, January 22, 2015

Am I a Professional?

Am I a PROFESSIONAL author? I am trying to be. To go from a "hobby" to a "career" takes practice, trial & error, and patience. Writing itself is hard, but that isn't even the hardest part. That is the easy part. When you start out they say it, but many don't believe it until you get deeper into the process. My advice to up-and-coming authors is to FINISH you book first. Finish it! No one wants to look at a proposal anymore. (that I know of) Publishers and agents want a complete story to work with. If you are having difficulties finishing it, imagine what will happen if they say, "Can you make some changes to *this section, or that section?" Or "Can you change the ending?" You need to have a good handle on what you are writing before you take the next step.

If you are unsure of your quality, then get an editor. Take a grammar class or two. Brush up on HOW to write. You need to do the very best you can before passing it on to a publisher or agent. They will then have to decide whether or not to publish it. You want the manuscript to be as clean as possible or you will not know if it was rejected on grammar or plot. Some publishers will reject it if they can not justify the cost of editing a poorly edited manuscript. If you can't edit it, they will have to pay someone. If it is really bad, then they may not want to spend the time and then you are left with a really great story that no one wants to take the time to polish. So polish it first. Or hire someone! Yes, editing costs money. But most things in life require money. The saying is, it takes money to make money.

It is true.

I often worry about my own professionalism because I am a terrible editor. I skip over the same mistakes and misspellings over and over again. To that end I want to say I'M SORRY that I am not better and my stuff is not cleaner. I am trying to do the best i can and sometimes I fall short.

Like Principle vs Principal …. Oh, my gosh!! What a big mistake to miss no less than 4 times. I feel so bad. And phrases like "maybe my fear we as irrational" is ridiculous, yet easily skimmed over when all those are words. It is supposed to be WAS. One word, but separated it looks like an unprofessional mess. I am not "beating myself up" about it as much as apologizing to the couple hundred people who purchased my book with spelling and grammatical errors. I mainly feel bad for putting out something that could be seen as unprofessional and dismissed by the next reader who doesn't want to take the time to read a self-pubbed work by a virtually un-known author when reviews say it is "not worth the read. So many typos and spelling errors in this book…." I personally feel like I let a reader down.

I want to give you quality. I DO! I want to look professional and create stories with impact. I know some readers don't like my style of writing. I get that. (Well, no I don't since I think I am awesome. LOL) I have read reviews that don't like my POV shifts or time jumps. That I also get. Some people don't like things about my books that are just ME. And I am okay with readers having opinions about my books that differ from other readers who love them. Typos though, I feel bad. I don't want to create a bad experience because things got over looked. Do you KNOW how many people read this manuscript? A lot. I promise to do better next time!

Do I regret doing this? No. I wanted the experience of self-publishing and I have it! I have learned lots about formatting and file conversion and graphic design. I am learning how to make my own covers and ads. I am reading about ISBN#s and copyright laws. There is so much learning that some mistakes are worthwhile. But I do still feel bad for publishing something less than perfect. Rest assured the mistakes and typos have been corrected and new versions have been uploaded to various platforms. Any new Kindle, Paperback, and eBook from probably tomorrow on should have a cleaner read.

I am also looking into uploading my book onto All Romance eBooks. This will be another platform to sell Misplaced Affection and I hope word gets out about it. Personally, I think it is a great book. However, sales died just about the time my blog tour ended. New books by other more popular authors come out and here I sit. I'm not asking for pity as much as help. Publishing is a lonely business. Even for authors who publish with traditional publishers you are virtually on your own. A publisher will advertise the "new release", but not long after that it is all up to YOU!! (And me.)

I rely on word-of-mouth. If you like it, talk about it. Write a review. Tell a friend. I seriously run out of ideas of how to tell people I wrote a book. Lately I create ads and post them on Facebook, but even that only reaches so many people. So tell me, kind readers, where do titles  catch YOUR eye? Do you see ads on blogs? I was thinking of advertising on ARe.

Can you comment below and tell me where you look for new titles? Blogs, Amazon, Ads on ARe, Ads elsewhere? I really would love to know. I need to widen my readership and I am at a loss HOW to do it.

In the meantime, I will continue to write. I am working on JOCK 2.

Tomorrow I host Jeff Adams here on my blog with an interview about his new book!

See you tomorrow,


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