It is truly exciting to participate in the emerging field of indie publishing. It's wild and woolly out there. But hey, that's the fun of being caught in the tornado.
So I have a draft, I ran it through Critique Circle and beat it in shape with the help of a group of enthusiastic and colorful critters. Yeah, don't worry. I'll name you so you can share the blame.
But now, the crucial next step. Do I clean it up, write query letters and look for an agent? Maybe wait months and years crawling like a snail to seek validation from Wall Street? Oops, wrong place. Or do I get it in the hands of the consumer, the reader, and let the market decide?
If I had tried this thirty years ago, before Cisco routers built the information superhighway, before the Internet changed the way we live, work, or play, before Amazon and Kindle and iPad and Nook, I would have had no choice. The start-up costs could not have been borne by an individual with limited funds.
Which leads me to indie pubbing. But is it totally cost free? It can be, if you're multi-faceted talented and drink lots of cold coffee. I've met successful authors who have done it all from scratch: writing, editing, doing the cover art, making the trailer, proofreading, formatting, blogging and marketing. And they have my complete admiration.
But I want, make that need, to have another pair of eyes on my writing. Grammar programs have too many false positives or outright mistakes. I've tried them. I've pulled out my hair wondering why a certain checker wants me to put semi-colons when the second clause is not independent. Another program forces you to wade through too many false-positives. Nothing could possibly substitute for a human eye. Yeah, you're probably nodding your head, given the state of this blog post. [psst: she needs an editor, make that two or three.]
Which human eye? Ah, that is the rub, isn't it? As in any wild and woolly emerging ecosystem, the claims have not been staked, and the players have not been vetted. Anyone can hang out a shingle or set up a webpage and call themselves an editor. I ask my crit buddies, and they give me leads. I submit a sample and receive an edited sample. But is this enough? I don't know. I haven't selected an editor. There are really good ones who are booked to the moon, and there are emerging ones who have potential. But in the lifecycle of your book, this is one of the most important hires you'll make. Yeah, about as important as a midwife or nanny. Pick your pain. I'll be back in a later blog post.