You’ve written your book, made it all the way to the last sentence, and finished with a flourish. It’s your masterpiece, your Pietà, your magnum opus—and it’s ready to publish.
Not so fast.
Hold on There, Shakespeare!
Of primary importance is your manuscript itself. All the beautiful covers and fancy marketing in the world won’t help a bad book sell. (Well, it might, but the returns will be short and small.) The fact is, simple grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes can kill a great story.
Many self-published authors spend far too much time on the layout, design, and marketing of their book when they would have been better off spending that time revising their work. Why build a platform only to watch that platform dissolve when your readers discover you didn’t take the time to make your book as good as possible?
Nothing kills interest in your sophomore release like a shoddy first book. -Tweet This
Revise, Rinse, Repeat
You’ve spent months, possibly years, getting your thoughts into written form. Trust me, I know first-hand the creative toil necessary to produce the written word. My first novel, one I’ll be publishing soon, is a concept I’ve had in my head since my high school days. (I’m over 40, so do the math on that.)
Even after spending so much time writing out the first draft, self-published authors often rush through the editing and revision process. They feel like they’ve got a bestseller and want to get it in the hands of their imaginary, adoring fans ASAP.
If you think your book has been revised enough, you’re wrong. Take the time to revise it three, four, or nine times. Find friends and family, or—dare I say it, enemies—to read through your manuscript. Give them permission to be brutal. Take their legitimate feedback and get back to work. You’ll be glad you did.
“Books aren’t written- they’re rewritten. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.” -Michael Crichton
In the next post of this series, we’ll address the issue of editing.