Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Business of Self-Publishing, Part 2

Tip 2: Learn to love the red pencil. 

The Business of Self-Publishing Series is a series that I'll be posting once a month in the middle of the month. You can find the first post by following this link: The Business of Self-Publishing, Part 1.

The tip from the first post was simply: Set aside at least one full year to research self-publishing. Comments on that post are no longer live, so if you would like to discuss that post, please send me an e-mail.

The second lesson I learned from my self-publishing journey is that it is almost impossible to edit all the errors out of a book, but that does not mean I shouldn't try to edit all the errors out. 

With my first novel, Champion in the Darkness, I had a tech issue. My laptop died with my latest copy-edited draft two weeks before my self-appointed deadline. I had a blog tour set up and ready to go. I had blasted my tiny portion of the web-waves with "upcoming release day" posts. And, I didn't have my latest copy-edited draft.

So, actually, this post has an extra tip for all writers. BACK UP WRITING EVERY DAY or EVERY WEEK. It's necessary. Sorry for shouting in bold, but the reality is, I had the biggest stress of my writing journey over an automatic backup error combined with a pc meltdown. 

And, after that meltdown, I made a hugely foolish decision. I thought I could quickly re-copy-edit my book in two weeks and have it completely ready. I worked at it for hours. I had notes for all my mistakes. I thought I caught them all. I didn't. In fact, in my haste, I think I added a few.

So, the second time around, my novel was beta read and proofread three months before the publish date. I went over it again and again. I had my sister-in-law read it aloud to her husband. I checked and re-checked it. 

The red pencil, or at least the "red review comments" via word, became my friend.

So, my simple and obvious tips today are: back up your work always (and check the backup system), don't let a self-imposed deadline put you in a bad corner, and finally, learn to love that red pencil! 

Readers deserve your best, and your long-term writing career deserves your best.


So, do you love the red pencil?


Of course, like I said before, it's nearly impossible to get all the mistakes out of a book. Last month, I found a missing quotation mark typo the day before a book signing. AGH! 
  






17 comments:

Cherie Reich said...

I learned the hard way about backing up my work when just my writing folder (the most important folder I have) was struck by ransomware back in June. I lucked out that I had already published my novel and only lost some started work and outlines, but it could've been so much worse. I back up in several places every day I work on something.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I always backup files because I got burned once and I print out a hard copy. It's strange that you never can find all the things needing the red pencil. They somehow skip right by your eyes.

Kendra E. Ardnek said...

I actually do enjoy editing. I'm one of those authors who writes a book so that I can read it, and editing allows me to do that.

I keep all of my documents in Dropbox, have ever since I my computer almost died on my a few years ago. I already had it installed so that I could share files with my mom and sister, so it wasn't hard for me to create a new folder and add everything else. It's really nice, since I have lost my computer twice since then, and both times, I was able to just pick up where I left off on another computer.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You can't catch them all. Even books from big publishers have mistakes.
When I'm writing, I back up on my external hard drive daily.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, so important to back up your work. It would be such a drag to lose it.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, I back up in more than one place to every day. It's just good to be sure of it.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I print out a hard copy when I'm done, but not before that . . . but I do back up more than once now. It's frustrating when stuff gets missed after it's been checked at least four times.

Tyrean Martinson said...

That's a great way to back things up. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

That's so true. And, I do that, plus e-mail a copy to myself.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Very important. :)

M Pax said...

Yeah, I learned the backup lesson a year ago. My hard drive failed w/o warning. Nada. Zip. Working fine one minute, dead the next. I felt like someone died. Fortunately, my husband was able to rescue all my documents, because he's awesome with tech, and I did have latest copies of what I was working backed up in email. I email a friend everyday if I've done any work. Now once a month, I back up my documents in 3 places, my covers & website graphics in 3 places, and my photos on an external hard drive. I wasn't able to save all my photos. Sniff. At least i had the documents.

Yes, to editing. I want to hear it before the story goes out, not after. Still, there are always some typos that escape me. I don't know how they do that. They must hide in corners.

Liz Blocker said...

I DO back everything up, weekly, although I'm wondering now if I should switch it to daily. The back-up horror stories are so awful. I'm so sorry you have one, too!

YES to the red pen! It's like my best friend. It's so important. I wish I wrote gems in rough drafts, but I never, ever do. So the red pen is ver necessary :)

Christine Rains said...

I do not fear the red pencil as I once did. I don't know if we're buddies, but I'm good with it. I'm still learning things about self-publishing. It's a continual process as it evolves.

Lynda R Young said...

Finding the majority of those errors is so important. For that reason I do love the red pen! And I also learned the hard way to backup everything... regularly!

Donna McDine said...

Thank you for your valuable tips, much appreciated! Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season and Happy New Year!

Maurice Mitchell said...

That's why I love Dropbox, but if it ever goes down I'm toast.

Heather Holden said...

So true about backing up your work. It's always aggravating to lose files and such, so I obsessively save everything on a USB now, heh.