Contest Blues, Indie Writer Edition

The first book in the Devil’s Blood series is currently entered into the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project. They’ll announce the first round of finalists February 10th. I’ve had a good vibe about winning or at least getting close to the top, so last night I picked up my copy of Devil’s Blood that I keep on the shelf as a reminder.

Talk about getting blasted. That first chapter is rough. ROUGH. I stood there, book in hand, stunned at how I thought that chapter was finished. I read through it, cringing at some parts, and noting all these tweaks I needed to edit. Then I thought, “Is the entire book this bad?”

On my last revision of Devil’s Blood, I rewrote the beginning from scratch. I didn’t ask for a second opinion before I claimed it publish-ready, and I slapped it into the internet. I would like to imagine that the rest of the book isn’t as bad. Still, I had the sudden urge to edit that chapter, although I knew it wouldn’t matter for the contest. I’d already submitted the manuscript. So, my odds of winning fell through the floor.

Odds are I’ve already been eliminated due to that horrible chapter.

While it pitted somewhere in my stomach that that’s the book I’d entered into this contest, I felt a little proud. I wrote that draft of Devil’s Blood less than one year ago, and I’ve grown so much as a writer and a reader since then. I can see things in that first chapter where I need to improve the flow, smooth out sentences, and cut back and add to. In less than a year I’ve grown that much. It blows my mind to think how much more I will grow by this time next year. Will I be looking back on things I’m writing now and cringe?

I feel as though I’ve royally screwed myself over on Devil’s Blood 1. I went cheap on the cover, which probably cost me sales (I made it myself through CreateSpace’s thing.) I didn’t get it professionally edited; I used beta readers and myself. I didn’t get it proofed because I thought being an English Major and Grad Student would give me the skills for it (that doesn’t apply to your own work) and so the first edition was riddled with typos. Swiss cheese. And so, it didn’t really take off running.

According to my mother, Devil’s blood 2 is better. Let’s hope so. If I can “fix” the first book, when the second comes out I might have another chance at those pesky, illusive sales. This time, I went with the professional cover first, hired a freelance editor, and ordered a copy to proof before I hit the ‘post’ button. Of course, if someone’s been wounded by the horrible first book, they won’t be jumping to buy the second.

This time around it feels more legit. I’m taking my time. I’m not pushing the second book as fast as I can; I read a chapter as I go, and don’t force myself to read more. That’s how I missed all those typos in the first one. I rushed. I hurried. I didn’t slow down to catch the mistakes. I saw only my goal; I saw fame and fortune (still waiting) and I thought less of my own craft and skills than I should have.

Let that be a lesson, fellow indie writers. Do not rush.

One thought on “Contest Blues, Indie Writer Edition

  1. Though obviously not identical, I can relate to your experience in many ways. I did almost everything myself and allocated my meager funds to largely ineffectual efforts at publicity and spendy conversions. Today, I know much better and feel proud of similar growth within myself and the progress I’ve made on my journey. I know you’re understandably disheartened over your this recent revelation, however, just know, there are many of us out here that enjoy watching the growth of artists we have come to like. I’ve read poorly edited Terry Pratchett novels(and more) that kept me reading because I enjoyed the story. Keep some hope alive, you may yet receive top mention for what you feel is less than your best.

    Liked by 1 person

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