Friday, February 27, 2015

Writing: In A Rush

Last week I talked about the similarities between a company and an author. The slogan I quoted, as you recall, said the company would never release their product before its time. Well, that goes for writers--perhaps even moreso than with companies selling wine.

I can still recall the exhilaration I felt when I finally typed in # # # at the end of the manuscript of my first novel. (By the way, I was taught to use that symbol, rather than "the end.") I was ready to send it off to my agent for submission to a publisher. I simply knew this was the first of many novels that would bring me fame and riches. After all, I'd put everything I had into it. But my agent, God bless her, calmly convinced me to keep working on the material--editing, rewriting, polishing. So I did, and finally she submitted it to several publishers--who rejected it. Obviously, they hadn't gotten the memo.

My agent persisted, and eventually I got my first fiction contract. Now, assuming things go as planned, my eighth novel will release on May 19, followed by my ninth and tenth (which are already written and edited). But for each of these I've written a first draft, revised, rewritten, revised, submitted to my editor, then responded to those editorial comments, following which I made changes after line editing, and finally made tiny revisions in the galley proofs. There was no "rush" to publish...and that's as it should be.

I still recall what my agent told me: You only have one chance to make a good first impression. At the time I thought it was hokey. Now I think it's great advice. I'm glad she kept reinforcing that concept with me.

I'm trying to feature stories and information about self-publishing (i.e., "going indie") on this blog, including my own foray into that activity. Matter of fact, I'll have a progress report on that soon. Meanwhile, I'd like to emphasize a point. I hope that writers won't take advantage of this new technology to rush their work into print, without laboring over it enough to make it really good. You really do only have one chance to make a first impression on those who read your work.

Do you have experiences (either as a writer or reader) in the area of "rushing to publish" you'd be willing to share? I'd love to hear them in the comments section.

Tweet with a single click: "When you type 'the end,' is your novel ready to submit?" Click here to tweet.

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Patricia Bradley said...

I am so glad my early work never saw publication. I.Would.Be.Mortified! Great advice, Richard.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Patricia. The sad thing is that some writers never realize their work could stand a bit more polishing. I appreciate your comment.