I have often heard from agents and others that writers should make sure their manuscript should be the best you can make it before you submit it to an agent or editor.
I also once talked with Phillip Margolin, a Portland author of legal thrillers, and his take is it takes about 250,000 written words before you will get published.
I have just achieved the 250,000 word mark–that’s about three mystery novels– and surprise my first published book, “Bleeding Blue,” is now available.In fact my book launch is this Tuesday, April 23rd, 7 p.m. at Taborspace, 5441 SE Belmont, in Portland.
For information on my Book Launch Click Here
So how good was my first and second effort? I don’t think it was as good as I could have made it before I sent it out to agents. But my effort with my current book has been a wakeup call for me. After several revisions on the computer, I thought I was ready. Then I had a brainstorm. I emailed it in Kindle format to my Kindle and read it again as you would a proof.
Aggghhh. It was filled with mistakes that I hadn’t noted on my computer. It was filled with mistakes I missed when I printed it out on 8 1/2 by 11 paper. It was filled with mistakes a friend of mine missed when reading it. Make that two friends. So I read it again. A few more mistakes. So I edited it again, a few mistakes mostly me being picky with word choice. I reread it a third time when I got the proof copy. Shit, still a few mistakes. Finally I was satisfied.
Now I’m pretty good at finding mistakes when I read a book, and it is rare that I find one in a commercially published book, but they are at there. One book I read (that was sold by an agent to a reputable publishing house) used quotes inside of commas and periods when the opposite is correct–all through the book. Publishers are cutting costs these days and editing appears to be one of them for midlist authors.
Anyway, looking back at all the times I sent out manuscripts, I realized they were not as good as I could have made them. I also experienced first hand what I’ve heard other authors say: “I’m sick of this damn book.” As far as writing, rewriting, editing, re-editing, and finding continuity mistakes right up through the final edit–I think I am sick of reading it too. When this happens, you simply put the book down for a while and pick it up in a few months with a fresh eye.
All of these writerly advice sayings make sense for me now. I’ve heard such things all my life, but never given them much thought.
But this book has been a good experience for me. From now on I will work harder and I have developed more tools that will ensure a better product in the future. Yes, I have learned some good lessons over the past 250,000 words, and I’m sure I will learn some more wonderful lessons over the next 250,000 words.
As long as I keep writing, I can only become a better writer.
Note: The software program I used to convert my text to mobipocket for Kindle is called Jutoh–it costs $39.00. It also converts epub and other formats. I just use it to convert to mobi and attach it to an email I send to my Kindle email address. Then I can highlight and make notes of mistakes and other changes.
My new book is available in print and for ebooks at Amazon,Nook, Sony Reader, Ipad and other outlets. You may even find it in a Portland bookstore in a few weeks .
Here is the link again for the print and ebook version.