My youngest sister, AKA, my Initial Reader, is a busy college student, so when I need her to read a manuscript, I have to catch her during school breaks so I can get her full attention. She read “Sweet Little Lies” over the Christmas holidays and as always, gave me valuable feedback on what I needed to fix. I also let my other sister read it, though she almost got fired because she took so long, but in the end, she also provided some great ideas on how to enhance the story and characters.
With their suggestions in hand, I was ready to start the process of getting the book ready for a Winter 2013 release date.
It was in the middle of implementing revisions based on their comments, that I got an email from a potential critique partner who found me through the www.ladieswhocritique.com website, inquiring if I’d be interested in partnering up. After a few back and forth emails, my potential critique partner and I exchanged manuscript samples. We decided we would be a good fit and forged ahead with providing each other deep critique on our manuscripts.
While I was definitely on a particular timetable for releasing “Sweet Little Lies,” I’m glad I took the time to get another set of critical eyes on the manuscript. My (new) critique partner, Emily McDaid, gave me sound insight and awesome perspective on how to round out my story and characters a bit more. She was also a wonderful sounding board for story points I was trying to muddle through and has provided some great marketing tidbits – always helpful in the indie world (more on Emily the Awesome in a future post. In the meantime, check out her book, “The Boiler Plot,” a suspense novel with a white collar twist and a candidate for Amazon Breakthrough Novel).
Being able to self-publish with the click of a button has been nothing short of revolutionary. But it’s also a bit of a cautionary tale. Because it’s so fast and so easy, it’s that much more tempting to rush through (or ignore) some important steps in the process and put the product on the market before it’s ready. Sadly, the indie landscape is littered with books bursting with typos, mangled syntax and poor story structure. In the mad dash to get the book out into the world, a lot of indie authors haven’t given their work enough time to cook.
Quality control is one of the most critical phases in the development of any product (and make no mistake, your book is a product) and to skip it shows a lack of respect for both the product and the audience. When you’re producing a book, that means running spell check, finding at least one brutally honest person to vet the manuscript (if the person who reads your manuscript only says gushing things and tells you nothing needs to be fixed, keep looking – find that person who will give you good, honest critique about what works and what doesn’t) hiring a professional proofreader and cover designer and unless you’re a whiz at it, a formatter.
Are you putting your manuscript through quality control before it goes on the market?
Think about it this way; wouldn’t you clean your house before showing it to prospective buyers? Wouldn’t you wash your car before showing it off to potential customers? How pissed off do you, as a consumer, get when you buy something only to get it home and realize it’s full of bugs or just flat-out broken? You curse and rail against the manufacturer for putting out the product before it was ready.
Why should your books be any different?
As for my own product, I am coming into the home stretch on releasing “Sweet Little Lies.” It will be going out for proofreading in a few days and formatting immediately after that. For more information on release dates, sign up here.
While I won’t be putting the book out as soon as I planned, I’m glad I took the time to put it through one more inspection, because it only made it better, which is a good thing.
And now, back to writing.