July 26, 2011

Hot Topic Tuesday: Best of the Best or Nothing at All

Do you guys remember that review I gave for Jacob Jones, The Septavalent Stone?

Well, if you don't remember I'll give you some hints: I gave it a review, I told him to work on it, and he basically said he will.

He lied.

He's still publishing the book as is. Even though it's not up to par. Even though it's not really that great as it stands, he's still publishing it on August 1st. You can check it out on his blog if you wish. August 1st in big bold come buy it letters. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. Why?

Simply because I think his book could be spectacular if only he would wait and get it fixed.

What's the lesson here, ladies and gentlemen?


I know I hear some of the writers in the peanut gallery whine and complain that they are done and are sick and tired of reading and editing it. What do you do then?

Stop. Read something else, then get back to editing your book. 


Because that's what we writers do. Heck yeah, it's hard work. Yes, it's tedious and often thankless job but if you're going to go out there and present yourself put a bow on it and make it your best. Don't go out there half-assed and expect fantastic reviews. 

It's just like with an interview. You don't go out there with your hair unkempt, your shirt untucked, and ugly shoes. You go out there with your best foot forward and I'm sorry to say,  Jacob Jones isn't doing so.

You know how you wish things could be different? That maybe I could just leap into one of my stories and bring out the happy endings for everyone? I so desperately wish I could tell everyone that all you have to do is wish it to be so, and tada! Your book is done. And you'll know it, but that's not true at all.

Not one little bit.

I've edited Angel Diaries AT LEAST four times. Yes, you counted it right four times over the past four years. I even got a contract to publish it but things didn't work out. Sure it hurt. I cried. I wanted to throw a hissy fit and stomp all over the room and wonder why me? I thought I was ready to put my baby into the spotlight.

Hell, I thought I was ready to be published and take in all the success or fairy tale mumbo jumbo that I thought was traditional publishing. But I wasn't. I was young, naive, and I still had a lot to learn. I knew for sure though that Angel Diaries was a hit. I put it up on a critique site and everybody loved it. Seriously. A lot of people approached me and told me up front that they wanted to buy it and asked me when will it be available.

To make a long story short, I knew I had a diamond in the rough story. I just had to carve it, shape it, mold it into something even better. I knew I had the basics down. I just had to fix the darn thing so that it would really blow people's minds. To make it leave an impact so big it challenged people's thoughts. And to do that I have to edit it. Over, and over, and over, and over again.

And when do you stop editing? Until it's in perfect shape. Or at least what you think, as the writer, is perfect shape.

Then guess what the next move is? Getting a second opinion.

Join a critique site.
Get some beta readers.
Gather up your reader friends to read over your book and see what they think.

And please, for the love of God, get people who will be straight up honest with you. Don't get the friends who will just tell you, "This is great." That doesn't help at all. What was great? What did you really like about it? Did you like the whole thing? Well, you couldn't find one problem with it? Not one?

In other words, get some feedback that will really help you become a better writer instead of a big headed one. Especially if you're going to self-publish your work.

There are already people out there, nay-sayers, who say that self-publish work sucks. And if you put your work out there half done, not up to your full potential just for some stupid deadline, then what will that tell your readers?

"I don't care. I'm all about that bottom line."

That's what you're saying. Especially if they find out someone told you EXACTLY what to change and how to change it. It's not rocket science. Fix it. Your readers will thank you for it later.

I mean, of course they will never know. But then in comes the fan mail.

Every time I think of fan mail, I get all tingly inside. That HAS to be the best part of being a writer. I even hand out fan mail to my writers once in a while, just to cheer them up. Especially Meg Cabot.

Don't look at me that way! I know she will eventually read it, and be like, "Thanks for that, chica! It really helps!" She was actually the first writer that I gave fan mail to. And I continue to. When I have the time.

What can I say? I love to cheer good writers on.

Don't you?!

Anyway, as a reader, I love to give authors good reviews, refer them to other readers and be like,
"Hey check this cat out!"
"For reals?!"
"Yeah, girl, Barry Lyga is an AWESOME writer!"

I love to do that. Heck, it's part of the reason why I put up this blog so that I could promote the writers who may not be on NYT bestsellers list like Dia Reeves! Or Barry Lyga! Or Patrick Ness! Or anybody else I might mention in the future. Point is, I like spreading good words about authors.

I don't like it when I see so much potential in an author get crushed down into little bits and pieces. I hate being fooled by pretty covers, yet I fall for it every single time. I hate buying a book that was on discount to find out that it's on the discount rack for a reason. I hate . . .

Well, the list could go on and on. And I bet a lot of people would agree when I say: I hate it when I give an author GREAT advice and they don't take it. Instead, they just fling it to the way side and decide to publish crap anyway. Just for a deadline.

Just because they told everyone that this was the date.

I fully believe that are certain things in this lifetime that could be put on hold. Growing up. Putting on makeup. Dating for God sakes. So many other things that I won't even list them. Everything is just so fast paced in this life that sometimes, I just want to slow them down and enjoy life. Enjoy the luxury of waiting. Enjoy natures beauty of what God has created. Just enjoy the thrills of being young.

Yet, sometimes life just rushes us by and we don't take the time to put effort into what we know could be good. Just because we need to rush them. Just because we want things now. Microwave generation they call us.

But the best things in life, funny as this is, are things that don't come right now.

And I think The Septavalent Stone, along with so many other books, could have been better with time. Like wine.

And I'm sorry Jacob if you find this offensive, or rude, or just plain ol' mean, but this is how I feel about it. And this is my blog. So if you want to comment. Go ahead. I won't delete it.

So please feel free to comment. I officially hand the reins over to you to explain why there's such a rush on The Septavalent Stone when it clearly needs the effort and time to become so much better and fully enjoyed by the reader.

Please take the floor and explain. Because as a reader, I do not understand.


  1. This would be a great forum for editing stories. Here's mine:

    - Finished my first draft 7 years ago.
    - Went through two editors (one of whom required a "second look" to make sure I had understood his suggestions before I put his name on it)
    - Went through an agent who also read (and sent back) the full manuscript three times.
    - At least three major rewrites and at least four complete line/minor content edits.

    Sure, every time I got it back from someone telling me that they didn't think it was "there," it hurt, but once I swallowed my pride (usually took me about a month), I usually realized they were right.

    I believe there are such things as "overnight successes" and writers who get it right the first time out, but I think they are fewer and farther between than most aspiring writers believe. The rest of us have to pay our dues.

    Paul D. Dail

  2. don't i just love it when an author puts out trash, it is my job to tear down that trash... so this author hates editing huh, how do i get the book, or contact him, i would like to review it.... here' my blog, now following you, hope you check out my review of wildefire ... http://everyauthorsnightmare.blogspot.com/

  3. Hello all! Thanks for commenting!

    @pauldail-Wow, 7 years ago? Now that's a lot of editing and dedication! I know that editing can be a job and hearing it can slice you to the core. God knows when I heard that this one publisher thought Angel Diaries was more of a romance story then a paranormal fantasy story I wanted to shake her, but sometimes we need to hear criticism. We need to hear the experiences that a reader is having with our book. So yeah.

    You're right though! This would be the perfect time to hear war stories with editing! I just love it to pieces! Great idea!

    @an author's worst nightmare-I will defintely send him your way. I just wish he would listen to reason. And common sense. Maybe that is what it is: He hates editing and wants to push it as far away as possible? Idk, but I do know that he's going to publish half done crap and I can't stand that. So yeah, let me see if I can find his blog for you . . . Here it is: http://theseven-piecestone.blogspot.com/

    Love your blog btw! I love the cutthroat, give it to me straight withouth the rocks, sorta way you review! I can't understand why you don't have more followers though! Drives me crazy! I'm now a follower, lol.

  4. Larissa, I'm sure if I compressed the time I actually was working on the book as if it were a full time job, it would be closer to three or four years. Unfortunately, I've had to work other jobs to support my habit. However, I haven't been so proud as to assume I'm some kind of wunderkind.

    Author, hmm. I'm definitely curious and will check out your stuff.

  5. Hey Paul Dail! Nice to see you again! :) And your comments, lol.

    Still 3-4 years is a long time! I guess I can't talk but still. Think about how long that is starring a computer screen or a print copy for 3 to 4 years! Dedication anybody?! Lol, I know you're not like a one time wonder, but it's still nice to see editing taken seriously.

    Oooh, just the thought of you viewing my books scares me! :P But I'll chance it. Now I have to hit my books extra hard with a dose of editing knife skills of a ninja!

    *brings out nunchunks and strikes a pose*