As you may or may not know, as I’ve talked about it a few times, I hurried the final draft of Devil’s Blood so that I would be a published author at long last. I’m currently revising the novel, (or, I was when I wrote this post) and while I’m happy to say my craft has improved since them, I’m a bit…what’s the word…ashamed?
Let’s rewind to when my at-the-time final draft got some harsh but necessary comments that addressed the protagonist’s motivation in relation to the plot moving forward: scenes that didn’t really push the story forward but felt more like stalling; uncoordinated plot ties; and a few other things that fall under one of the other problems.
But I’d already set a deadline for publication… I didn’t have time for revision!
You always have time for revision. Always.
So I cut, rewrote, and overhauled the first third of the novel. That’s right – I rewrote the final draft’s first third. About twenty thousand words. Turns out, it wasn’t the final draft after all. After this major face lift, what did I do? Ask for a beta reader? Get a second opinion? Wait a while and go back to see how I liked it?
None of the above. I half-ass proofread it and called it a novel. I was so proud the day my copy came in the mail. I’d created my own cover through Create Space and everything, and even though it was boring, I’d made it. I’d published a book. It was a mind-blowing moment when I held that first book in my hand.
I could finally say out loud, “I’m an author.”
As the awe of being a published author wore off, I began to notice things. I hadn’t proofed it very well. People kept finding typos. The cover became boring and lame. It looked free. So I coughed up the money to have a professional cover made. And oh, does it look better.
Since its release in April of 2016, I’ve changed just about everything in Devil’s Blood 1. I’ve changed the font, the type size, the margins, the cover, the description that shows up on Amazon – the original story has stayed the same, but with some revisions. In this latest revision, I’ve added about four thousand words in the first five chapters. I smoothed, explained, and clarified. Since I had a set spine size due to the cover, I had to shrink the font to keep it within the page budget.
Let this be a lesson to writers that want to self-publish. Do not rush your book. Give it the time it needs, and give yourself the time, to bloom into a story worthy of attention. Get those beta readers for every single revision. Hire an editor if you want guaranteed feedback. Make sure you proofread, and then proofread it again, and then for extra measure proofread it again by reading it aloud.
Don’t make my mistake. Don’t rush; slow down and enjoy the ride.