Self-publishing Writing

Self-Publishing: Writing: A Post-Mortem on My First Book, Worth of Luck

Hello everyone! It has come time to bury my first book and move on. Before I can do that my husband suggested I do a post-mortem. He is right. I should look back what I did wrong and right with the project to avoid the same mistakes. Some of you know I have been getting my book print ready. I thought it would be an easy process, but I was wrong. Not only formatting the book took time but to top that I found several grammatical errors and style issues I had to fix. That is what I have been doing a month. Fixing and learning and hating myself. How fun.

The book wasn’t ready to be published in August. I shouldn’t have rushed it out. It was a huge mistake. There is no other choice than to use it as a teachable moment. At the time, I was stressed out and in a panic mode. I was still working at my old job which was killing me not only because of boredom but because my superior had a drinking problem and I had to take all her responsibilities. In addition, I never knew if she came to work or not, and could I leave home after my shift. I feel sorry for her, but that and trying to get my book published was hellish. What I should have done was put a pause and postpone the publishing when I wasn’t feeling so stressed out, tired, hopeless, and seeing my future slip between my fingers. Yet, not being mentally in the right mood to assure the book’s quality, I don’t regret going ahead. I learned so much from it. I have to think the new enlightened me outweighs all the harm it did.

Still, I shouldn’t have hurried. I have to remember that with my future projects. But before hurrying, I made another mistake. I chose the wrong editor. He is a fine editor, but I personally should have never hired him. The trouble was he couldn’t understand jokes or the nuances and innuendoes behind them. This caused me to worry and not trust his editing. So while I transferred his corrections, I missed some of my grammatical mistakes, and they got left behind in the finished work. This is my bad. I should have changed editors when it came clear we didn’t speak the same language. I should have found an editor who I could trust. Now you might think jokes are subjective and our humor didn’t meet. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. He had a literal mind and inability to understand double meanings. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a good editor, just not for me and my work. But as always, I saw the whole experience as an opportunity to learn not only from my mistakes but from the editor as well. Through his eyes, I saw the grammatical and structural mistakes I made constantly. He made me a better writer. But I also know, I should trust my instincts more and go with the gut feeling and not always with reason.

My cover, I love it. I loved working with the artist. The only thing I would do differently would make it have more contrasts. To make it pop out. Otherwise no complaints there. However, I have been looking at the current cover trends. They are more abstract and impersonal. I’m not sure if that is a good thing. I have considered a different vibe with my second book. More artistic? I’m not sure yet. Yes, there is still going to be a new book. This whole experience hasn’t put me off writing even if I scream at myself that I’m a critting useless and talentless fuck. I love my dyslexic freaking mind.

But to the most important part, to my writing. The issues above are exterior issues and fixable. The original text sucked and big time. Now I can see that the story, ideas, mood, and issues are there but I have a lot to learn from execution. For example, how many shivers one can put into a book? The right answer is one if even that. I’m sure I had twenty shivers in the book. I took most out (I think I left 4.) And don’t get me even started with all the sighing. (An eye-roll.) I know better now. In addition to sighs and shivers, I had problems with transitions. Scenes and characters moved too quickly from one setting to another. Yikes. Also, the book lacked a coherent world. I didn’t do enough world building. I fixed those issues the best I could without having to rewrite the whole critting thing as I have to move on and accept the book as it is.

Before I wrap this up, I have two issues which need attention. The first one is head popping. This came up with my second book in my writing group. Some hate it, others like it. My first book has a lot of it, and I’m not sure where I stand with the head popping any longer. I think it worked well, but I could be mistaken. I understand how it might confuse the reader. So I may now on stick with omnipresent third-person perspective with multiple points of views, but only be in one headspace in a scene. I love head popping, but that ship might have sailed with the current trends. I’m not sure. What do you think? The second issues and the last part (I’m sure there are more problems in my book than what I have mentioned, but I’m too novice to see them) is the story itself. It might be too dramatic not giving enough pause to the reader to breathe. And at the beginning, all the twist in the plot might seem like lazy writing despite there being a clear reason for them, and that is luck and gods working their “magic.” (Playing with the mortals.) I should have made clearer that they are the pushing force behind everything, and the twists happen for a reason. The gods’ influence comes clear at the end, but a reader who doesn’t know how to read between lines, might not see that right away.

There is so much to learn, to get better at my craft. The first thing I need to learn is to relax. And not be so critting anxious all the time. It will ruin me.

On a personal note, (I’m not sure if I should share this or not, but heck, if I go with honesty then let’s go all the way,) I have had a shitty time. Not only because I have been re-evaluating my work, but because of my personal life. Because of my drunk fuck of a father (sorry about all the cursing. I have been doing that and a lot.) Half of the time I’m afraid he has drunk himself to death and other times I feel sorry for him. I fluctuate between worry, hate, and sadness. Over a week ago on Fathers’ day, he made a disappearing act with a bottle, forcing me and my sister to call our mother (divorced) to find out if he was alive or not (I and my sister don’t live at the same city as he.) He was. But ever since, my body has been acting out. No appetite, my stomach aches all the time, and I can’t concentrate. Such personal pressure has made it hard to write and be active on social media. The worst part of the alertness and panic has passed and my body gradually accepts what my mind is trying to tell it that I can only help my father if he wants to be helped. Until then I can only be blunt about how his actions affect me and not play into his alcoholic martyrdom. I know this wasn’t what you expected from a post-mortem, but I have learned that you can’t separate personal life from writing even when you think you can. It somehow gets into the way. This father thing feels like it is eating me from inside and I mean literally. The pain in my stomach is horrible. I’m sorry about this. I had to write it out. Live and learn, and all the other clichés.

The last note: I contacted Amazon to ask about contacting those who have bought my book and make an update available for them. They haven’t gotten back yet, but I hope they accept my request to issue an update as they are strict about offering customers those.

Thank you for reading and sorry about the last part and all the cursing.

P.S. I forgot to mention the good parts. Silly me. I am happy about the characters I created. They divide people which is always a nice bonus. I like the jokes I made. The running tone of the book. The atmosphere. And that I wrote it. That it doesn’t sit on my computer and stay in a perpetual state of editing.

2 comments on “Self-Publishing: Writing: A Post-Mortem on My First Book, Worth of Luck

  1. I can relate to a lot of your writing travails, especially the overuse of certain words and phrases. A reviewer who read my first novel pointed out that my characters were constantly “on tenterhooks.” I had no idea! I also struggle sometimes with POV. I’ve always limited it to one viewpoint, but lately I’ve been seeing the advantages of spreading it around–“head popping,” as you say.

    I hope your personal issues don’t interfere too much with your writing. I agree it can be difficult to separate the two. Best of luck!

    Like

    • Thank you! It is always nice to hear from fellow writers and have their perspective on writing. Head popping is fun, but for some reason, editors and some of the readers don’t find it as appealing. If you want to talk more about “on tenterhooks” or POVs , do find me on Discord (Dys#0127) or email me.

      Liked by 1 person

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