Quoting my comment response: “Great rant. Now go read my YA series. (www.returnnovel.com). You’ll have little to worry about little there except dueling narratives, character overload, glossary-free jargon and endless rewrites, but I suppose all ya’ll have to tolerate *some* of my indulgences. . . . Sticking to an otherwise uncritical or conservative reader’s comfort zone is what audiences latch onto and what uncreative or conservative media companies want to produce. What you’re proposing is challenging for a lot of readers. Now, *You*[sic] may want to be challenged, *I* may want to be challenged and most of the readers of our respective blogs want to be challenged, but it’s a much tougher sell to challenge a reader with intricate, well-rounded literature.”
I hope everyone has launched into the new year in good spirits and in good shape. My 2013 was–how shall we put it–an exciting and perilous year for myself, along with many other aspiring authors who are taking our first modest, shaky steps into self publishing. Continue reading RE: START 2014
I’m about one-third the way through this re-edit of Return – The Survivalists, and while it is going smother then I expected I do not regret the decision pull the first book from publication. I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to make more changes–so many that the next release can be considered a second edition. I have already struck down the old preview chapters and the new material will be forthcoming. Any comments, criticism and participation is welcome.
And on that note, have any other authors with WordPress blogs notice that they receive a bunch of likes and follows on posts from people who aren’t actually bothering to visit the log or post comments? To nip that problem in the bud I’m turning off the Likes on posts for now. I see no point in receiving self-promoting drive-by likes from the WP Reader.
Thank you for your patience and I look forward to your comments and support. -JK
I had a chance to pick through the manuscript and it’s not quite as bad as I thought. There’s a few typos and some pronoun deficiency but nothing completely hackish.
Still, it’s going to take several weeks to finish and republish in all the stores and even more time to make it free on Amazon.
I’m also using this as a chance to rearrange some deck chairs on the front and back matter. So, there are no more crazy rants in the back matter, for now.
I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for waiting. -JK
Three months after publishing, I took another read through the manuscript and I’m not at all happy with what I’m seeing. I also appeared to have completely flubbed the launch and store set-up.
I will relaunch the first book someday, but I can’t make any promise when that’s going to happen.
Once I re-publish, the first book will stay free as a favor to anyone who has already read it and hoped for better.
Finally, I may well take down this entire blog. No one seems to care about this one and I want to set up a new blog on my own server.
Please accept my most sincere apologizes and have a Happy New Year. -JK
Even after announcing the publishing date for Return – The Survivalists my “final” manuscript is still roughly 99% done.
It seems forever “99% done.” After two rounds of professional edits, critiques, endless polishing and an untold number of head-to-desk moments, I’m still finding things I don’t like and things I want to change, tinker, improve and even fix. The script came back from my editor well enough, but as I was reading it aloud I found some things I wanted to add and needed to trim, which in turn, introduced other things that wanted adding and needed trimming.
Now, I’m not saying that all my effort for the past three months is for naught. I am, after all, mostly reduced to making very minor changes that better reflect what the characters are saying and doing. And as for what characters are saying, I will, hopefully, never try to put words in the character’s mouths. At this point, it is really more their story than mine. I’m mostly a historian, trying to get the facts straight while creating a narrative that doesn’t put people to sleep. But I digress.
There are a litany of complaints about the quality of self-published novels clogging the shelves, none of which I am going to reiterate here. From what I’ve observed, and read, it is not because us relatively inexperienced authors refuse to edit or even that we somehow fail to take editing seriously. It is that editing a book well is a much more difficult effort than any neophyte can even begin to imagine.
I admit that going into this project I completely underestimated the amount of work and attention to detail it requires to produce a quality book. There’s a reason that reputable publishers perform at least three different edits: development, line-editing and proofreading. Now that makes me wonder, are those three separate people or three people who do the same exact job? I’ll have to ask my editor. But again, I digress. It’s far too easy to get small but pertinent details wrong, repeat a word too many times, make a consistency breaking change, or even insert a typo when making an edit.
Moreover, I don’t think there is a single book in existence that couldn’t somehow be tweaked. You have to know when to let go which should usually be somewhere between coherently laying out all the plot points and excising all typos and writing the next Pulitzer Prize novel.
Either way, I’ll keep banging at this until the wire, because somewhere in this manuscript will always be something I hate and something that will completely embarrass me and something I love and something I want someone to hear no matter what.
My hope for the next book is that I use my experience to properly formalize the revision and editing process. Needless to say, I no longer find formalizing my writing process as “stifling” as it surely beats the sheer terror of getting picked apart on an Amazon review for clumsy dialogue, typos and inconsistent subject-verb agreement.
Here’s an interesting take on orientalist leanings in fantasy literature. You may not agree with his take but it has some solid writing and scholarship. -JK