Wednesday, 29 December 2010

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent...

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.  ~Robert Benchley

So I started reading my edited manuscript and I must say they have done well but I have only read through the first couple of chapters. One huge concern was the word "tyres" as in aeroplane tyres that features in one of the first lines of my book. The editor has changed the spelling to "tires" which concerns me slightly. The rest of the changes are fine, I have spotted a few inconsistencies that I can easily correct but reading though it is taking me time as I want to get it as close to perfect as possible. This will be my final edit. 

One issue that lept out at me was the first three chapters of the book, the ones that you normally send in as a submission to a writers agency or publishing house. before I send to my submissions I read a piece of advice that said " If you book really gets going on chapter ten, start it at chapter ten and get rid of the rest" I mused over this piece of advice as I prepared my submission. The first couple of chapters in my book I was describing my protagonist and the other main characters and I realised because of the way I started writing (with no real direction) this "describing" was probably for my benefit than for the reader. In all honesty did they really want to know little details about a character they had only just met? probably not, the first few chapters are to hook the reader surely, start the story and fill in the character description later. So that is what I did. It was an awful moment for me, ripping out what I felt was the foundation of the book (I did insert these vital chapters later on) - At several times during the journey of writing this novel I wanted to put each and every page through the shredder and pretend I had never started (either because I didn't like what I had written, lost my confidence and more often than not; lost my way) - But now to have such thoughts are not so good, especially when self publishing- It is scary as you constantly have to tell yourself that what you have written is not awful, that it is good, and because you have no one in publishing authority telling you the book you have written will be a success you begin to think that maybe you are not so good. To any novelist out there going down the self publishing route you may have this issue as well or you may be uber confident in which case I say try a partnership publishing company- for about £10,000 they will publish you book the traditional way and if its successful put it in reprint the second time round for free, but of course you bare the £10,000 cost of the first time round. 

Anyway getting back to my first point was as I was reading through the first few chapters I couldn't help but think the first three which I discarded were better, but they were just description. I am not sure what to do. My gut instinct tells me to keep it as it is, and people close to me that I have consulted have suggested the same but without a publishing figure looking at my work I am sceptical and therein lies the main problem with self publishing. You have to rely on your feelings, your instincts which I suppose may not be the same as the rest of your audience, but then I am torn- it is my book, one that I have written, maybe it should be read that way (I don't know though, I really don't know)

I will continue to read through my manuscript and let you know how that ends up, but most importantly the next two weeks are going to be spent obtaining ideas and inspiration for the front cover of my book! I must have this all complete by the end of January. 

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