Monday, April 23, 2018

T = Thinking You're Exempt Is Foolish

Welcome, A to Z bloggers, visitors, and of course all my faithful regular readers! This year's theme for my A to Z:
Short & Sweet Reasons Why You Need an Editor

So without further ado . . .

Thinking you’re exempt from the process everyone else goes through to get published is foolish.

I almost titled this like one of those clickbait articles: “Editors Hate This Guy Because He Knows the Secret to [fill in the blank],” except that there really is no secret to publishing success that allows someone to skip steps.

People go about their writing journey in many ways, but the common theme still holds true. Every successful author needs to learn as much about the craft as possible, and put forth the best work he or she is capable of. It may involve a writing course or a handful of them. It may involve a critique group. It may mean that you read just about every book out there on the craft of writing and how to do it well. Maybe you’ll take an editing course to see how much self-editing you can do to keep your costs down.

Whatever path you choose, you’ll end up following the same general process: idea (plot), research & development (writing, learning, fact-checking, rewrites), test marketing (beta feedback), final production (editing, formatting, cover design), and releasing to the public (publishing).

Thinking “I know a way around that” is a slippery slope. I wouldn’t trust a product that skipped safety testing, so I wouldn’t want to put out a product that isn’t structurally “sound” either, even if it’s a book that won’t technically hurt anyone if it's produced poorly . . . unless you count the wallet pain you feel when you realize you’ve been ripped off.

Ouch.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Lynda - can see this ... it's much better to be as professional as possible, check things out, ask for help and proceed methodically and sensibly to get the best result for all concerned, especially you! Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the goal, right? To get the best results. Have a great day, Hilary!

      Delete
  2. Ah - someone who understands!

    Most of the time when I talk about structure being just as important as art in producing good fiction, I get either blank stares or "I could never write with a pre-determined structure because it would kill my creativity."

    Hate to tell you this, snowflake, but the lack of structure really shows in the writing. And, of course, it also results in having to delete (you are deleting, right?) many many words because they detract from the story rather than are crucial to it.

    I find structure freeing (after getting it right - up until then it can be a royal pain). And I only toss words after that because they are not quite right, not because they're from a tangent which should have been pruned from the start.

    I like Hilary's word above: methodically. The longer and more complex the story is, the less you can afford to wing it.

    Signed, Not-a-pantser.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know a few pantsers who really do a great job, but they're also people who are thorough in their revision stage. I can go either way, depending on what it is I'm trying to achieve. Since I'm primarily a blogger, I find it helpful to outline a little bit if I'm doing a multi-part series, but some of my best posts have been written in one sitting with almost no revisions. When it flows, it flows . . . but that doesn't mean it hasn't been sloshing around in my brain for a few days.

      I think structure is similar to having a daily schedule. It helps you to keep track of things, but you can deviate if that's what the situation calls for. Freedom because of preparation, rather than despite it.

      Delete
  3. So true. Success isn't overnight in most cases. It's daily work and often a lot failure before something comes together and voila! Happy T day to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lee! Daily work is certainly the case. Even "overnight" success stories usually reveal a lot of hard work and thankless hours prior to the overnight-ness.

      Perseverance is always in the back of my mind when I blog and market myself. If I'm consistent, people will realize I'm still around and have been around long enough to be trusted. Skipping steps and expecting magical results is delusional.

      Delete
  4. So, does the advice in today's post apply to me, too? Even if it takes me longer to accomplish things that way? I'm so confused...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say whatever you're doing, you're apparently doing it right. You're not some two-bit hack (worth at least four bits, IMO) thinking there's some secret way to skip to the head of the line without doing any of the work.

      If the thoroughness of your blog posts is any indication, I'd say you haven't skipped many steps on your path to success.

      Delete
  5. Absolutely true. Nothing is more crushing than finding out you shot yourself in the foot by being overly confident in your abilities and let pride take over. Should you feel those things? Sure. Be confident and be proud, but know that your point of view and your knowledge isn't the only one in the world and getting feedback, help, and hiring the right professionals is priceless. Nothing makes you so special that you can skip crucial steps. Now, that kind of awareness IS the real accomplishment you can be proud of 100%. In fact, be cocky about it lol, and use it to put a book out there after you've completed all the necessary steps.

    Great post! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It all boils down to pride for some people, much like my letter "Y" for this theme. Everyone needs help somewhere. I like the way you put it: nothing makes you so special that you can skip crucial steps.

      An old acquaintance of ours used to always think he had an angle to bypass "the system," regardless of what system it was. No surprise he ended up spending time in the prison system for a handful of years. He also is convinced everyone's recipes have a "secret ingredient" that nobody reveals, and that's why others can't duplicate the taste. lol and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that he doesn't believe we ever landed on the moon, either.

      But I digress (even though I knew you'd get a kick out of that). Awareness + a healthy dose of humility can = SUCCESS.

      Delete
  6. ...unless you are a millionaire and hire a top notch ghost writer...??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, there you go, then! There are exceptions! Haha

      Delete

I love comments, and will always answer them, partly because I like having the last word and partly because I just like getting to know the people who read my blog. (Note: if the post is more than a couple weeks old, your comment will automatically go into the "needs approval" folder, but I will still publish it and reply!)