However, I'd like you to consider the courage needed to delay publication or even not to publish at all.
- the ones who are convinced that their first draft is good enough and either haven't a clue that it isn't or else don't care because they believe that an editor will sort them out later
- and the ones who, having failed to find a publisher, decide to self-publish without employing the services of:
1. an editor
2. a copy-editor and
And please note that I said "and", not "or".3. a proof-reader
I have some self-publishing plans of my own - for some of my previously published books which are not in ebook format and for some new non-fiction - which is why I'm currently reading and completely loving Self-Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard. But, despite the fact that I've had around ninety books published, I wouldn't dream of doing this without using all the above services from skilled professionals whom I had reason to trust.
Well, all I'll say is that in my bottom drawer is a heap of MSS that were never published. They were rejected and I am extremely glad of that now. If ebooks and self-publishing had been available, I might have been tempted to throw caution to the wind and chuck them at the unsuspecting public, who might even have bought them.
But I would regret it, because they weren't not good enough. Not good enough for whom? Not good enough for me. I wouldn't be proud of them now. (Not that I'm saying they are brilliant or I wouldn't change aspects.)
Would I have had the courage not to publish, to wait until I had written something good enough? I don't know. Proably not, because I knew sod all about publishing and not very much about readers. I hadn't practised enough.
I'm not saying that every multi-rejected book shouldn't be published. Nor am I saying that every rejected book isn't good enough or enjoyable enough - Catherine's Mousetrapped is very enjoyable and is well-written, but even she admits that publishers were right to reject it. But her book was something that she did absolutely the right thing in publishing. It found a market and established her as a good writer with an engaging personality.
Mine weren't right to be published. There were too many things wrong - things which I could quite easily put right now if I wanted to. So I'm glad my courage was never tested. But I won't be publishing them now either, even though they are there, waiting, staring at me. Those books were my practice books. They are part of the writer I became and that's enough for me.
Do you have to courage to walk away from your practice books and start another? Do you have the courage and patience to delay your planned self-publication until your book has been properly edited, copy-edited and proof-read?
Please say yes!
On Thursday I will bring you news of my Edinburgh International Book Festival events - the programme goes live at midday. Hooray!