Self-Publishing a Novel too Soon - #WriteTip

Quote: “I love the rewriting and redrafting process. Once I have a first draft, I print the whole thing out and do the first pass with handwritten notes. I write all kinds of notes in the margins and scribble and cross things out. I note down new scenes that need writing, continuity issues, problems with characters and much more. That first pass usually takes a while. Then I go back and start a major rewrite based on those notes...” —Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn blog

If you’ve finished writing a novel or short story, then congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment to be very proud of, but now comes the revision work that will really make your story shine…

When I was growing up, the only thing I ever dreamed about was being a professional author. I realize for self-published and indie authors that it’s an on-going struggle to get your books out into the world, and hopefully make some money in the process.
Like every writer, I am incredibly passionate about my work. The main reason I write is because I like to do it. Not for the money. No, because I love creating characters. I love crafting suspense. And I love telling stories—my kind of stories.
Best-selling author, Tracy Hickman was quoted as saying, “Don’t seek to be published, seek to be read.”
Simple words. Great advice. Write for your readers. Write what you love. Write every day and don’t give up.
I’ve written a lot of books. Some good, and some, well, not so good. My first three novels were traditionally published without a literary agent. And I hate to tell you that the advance was dismal and I didn’t sell as many books I’d hoped.
Looking back, I know what I did wrong. I didn’t have any critique partners. The manuscript wasn’t tightened up and polished enough. I didn’t hire a professional, freelance editor.
A first or second draft should never, ever be what a writer self-publishes. As a matter of fact, the first draft or two should be ruthlessly edited. Personally, I do at least ten or more drafts on my own fiction stories.

Please do not rush to publish your book!
If you have a slower scene that readers might think is boring, but you feel is vital to the plot, then find a way to Deepen the POV and the characterization, and also ramp up the tension.
Learn to self-edit if you can’t afford to hire a professional editor. Find a few good critique partners (and if you don’t know what this is, then that’s a red flag that you might not be ready to self-publish yet), and really take the time to study story structure.

I recommend that new writers read books in the genre that you want to write in and dissect them. Devour them. Analyze every aspect of the writing. Be patient and never stop improving your craft. As you write, and read, and study, you’ll get better at including Deep POV in earlier drafts.
Once you’ve finished the fifth draft of your manuscript, then you’re ready to use the Deep POV method. This is when you will go through each scene and find all the shallower writing and revise the heck of it.
As always, I wish everyone much success on their writing journey!


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