Reflecting on August 2015… Haunting Mistakes & Editing Hell…

Editing & FormattingAugust has not been the most satisfying writing month ūüė¶ Firstly… I’ve been waiting for a review of the new and improved ‘Ivory’; keen to see what people other than me and my editor think of it. Then one turned up… 3 star. Not too shabby.

Then I read the review. Unfortunately it’s a review of the original version of the book. Not only that,¬†it’s the same review I received 3 years ago on Goodreads. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a good review of what was a sub par novel. It’s nicely balanced, constructive and kind (unlike some reviewers!). I was grateful for the review¬†on Goodreads as it was this exact review that¬†made me realise I was too close to my¬†material to recognise really stupid mistakes. And I mean REALLY stupid mistakes. It was the review that made me pull all my work and set me upon getting it professionally edited. So, I’m quite gutted that this is the first bit of feedback I got for the new and–hopefully–improved ‘Ivory’, and that ‘Ivory’ is now haunted by it’s past. Appropriate, I guess, considering Ivory haunts the people who encounter her, but that’s the kind of twisted irony I could do without.

So, let this be a lesson to you self-publishers–if it’s not one that isn’t massively obvious to you already–don’t self-publish ANYTHING¬†unless it’s been through a committee of people and a professional editor. Music can be covered by a different artist, remixed or re-released, movies can be re-cut and remastered and audiences will most likely give these new versions a go. Books take much more time and commitment from their audience and might only get one shot at making it’s mark. Just one. Not just that, but I cringe at the thought of providing an unsatisfying reading experience. For me, reading is a luxury time sink, and I wouldn’t want to spoil that leisure time for someone.

This is a call to action *cue trumpets and battle cries*, I would be really grateful if you would drop by the review and in the ‘Was this review helpful to you?’ bit, give the ‘NO’ button a big click for me. Or, if you’ve read ‘Ivory’ and enjoyed it, then please leave your own review. It would certainly cheer me up. Reviews don’t get removed from Amazon, but it might balance out the sole perspective that’s there now.

Unfortunately, this reminded of needing eyes other than mine on my work came the same month I was¬†shaping the final draft of¬†‘Get Over It With CBT’, a self-help title I’ve produced. Despite my last paragraph, I just can’t afford any more editing. With my mistakes from ‘Ivory’ haunting me, I think I went a little crazy with the editing. Hence, no blog updates. Hence, not much of anything except reading and re-reading, and re-reading-a few-more-times-just-to-be-safe-and-feeling-a-little-bit-The-Shining.

It is done now, and I am happy with it. I’m taking a leaf out of my own book, quite literally, though– *sigh* –as I’m accepting there will be errors. I’m not perfect, I just hope that whoever is drawn to this book will be glad for the perspective on personal issues that¬†it’s offering, and will be forgiving.

Just when I got¬†the book exactly how I wanted it, I had to format it for the upload to Amazon. Which turned out to be the doorway to the tenth¬†circle of Hell. You know, the one Dante skipped over, full of pale haunted writers slaves to editing and formatting. I had been¬†a bit concerned at formatting something with images, bullet points and tables in it, and I was right to be. While the tables survived the conversion, the bullet points I had chosen didn’t work;¬†the opening bookmark sends the reader¬†into the middle of chapter 1, right into a rude joke (yay!); all my pictures needed resizing below the Amazon size limit (my fault), and when I did that they still came up with upload errors; then, it turns out that Amazon strips all the font styles out of the books so the user can use their own settings.

I can’t figure out the bookmark issue, I’m hoping it’s a previewer glitch, and it seems like there’s nothing I can do about the font style, which is a shame as¬†I really wanted a ‘hand written’ style as I had in my Word doc for the examples. However, thanks to CJs Easy as Pie Kindle Tutorials I found¬†a fantastic explanation and step by step fix, and I managed to get my images back into my book. Check out his guide. I hope it helps you as much as it helps me. I really appreciate people doing things like that. So, thanks for that CJ, and big hug. It doesn’t look as pretty as I’d wanted, but it’s the best I can make it through Amazon.

I’m taking a break from writing for the moment. I’m going to be reading, chilling, and recovering my energies before ‘The Pack’ comes back from my editor. I probably shouldn’t have jumped straight into writing a book after finishing my accountancy course. I’ve come to realise from writing my self-help book that I should be taking more time to enjoy myself to balance out my lack of enjoyment of editing. Hopefully, next year I will get back into actual creative writing–which is my love and my passion.

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2 thoughts on “Reflecting on August 2015… Haunting Mistakes & Editing Hell…

  1. As I get mentally prepared to self-publish in the future, coming across posts like yours are both encouraging and discouraging. ūüėČ There’s so much for a self-pubbed author to be aware of, isn’t there? In regards to your choice to take your book back and have it professionally edited, I admire that. A lot of authors who have mistakes in their work just let it go and move on, and while there can be value in that, too, I think your way shows a professional approach that respects the reader. Thanks for the post!

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    • I certainly wouldn’t want to discourage you. There is a lot to think about. I’ve certainly learned my lessons along the way! I still love writing, just not the production side of it. I’m sure it will get easier. Best advice I’ve had is just keep at it. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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