Over a year ago, I jokingly reported about some of the flavours of the Rush-The-Process dish. I’m talking about those scenarios where writers are in such a hurry to submit their work for publications that they skip vital steps in the editing or publication process.
In that post, I spoke about the ones who only have family and friends looking at their work, not other writers or editors. I spoke about the ones who take editorial reports and stick to the most basic of rewrites. Then there are those who submit to agents and publishers unfinished works, only to go into full panic mode when they get the request for fulls. And my personal favourite: upload to Amazon without editing at all, because they supposedly can’t afford it.
But there are some other flavours to this Rush-The-Process dish that also requires some attention.
I don’t know what the capital of Ethiopia is. Who cares who was the president in 1982? No one will notice if I get the details wrong.
Actually, they will. The collective knowledge of readers is much larger than one anticipates. If you make up the facts, your readers will be unrelenting and cruel in their critiques.
When it comes to research, it’s vital that you get the little details correct. You can ruin the reading experience if you place those famous landmarks on the wrong side of town.
Saying that, in fiction, you can play on the facts. If characters walk through a world and question what it is that they are seeing, then your readers will be a little more forgiving — mainly because they know that you know something isn’t right.
I have no idea what genre my story fits into. I’ll figure it out later.
I’ll gladly accept that some stories don’t quite take shape and show exactly where they fit until you have the first draft finished. Sometimes, one might set out to write a thriller, but turns out to be a science fiction. (Yes, it does happen — it’s happened to me. And yes, you can have science fiction thrillers. Jurassic Park fits into this category.)
However, at some point during the publication road, you need to decide exactly what type of story it is that you’re working on. If I was to walk into a brick-and-mortar store, where can I find your book? It’s far too late to make this genre decision when you are in the final stages, mainly because you need to know exactly who your audience is before you hit the publish button.
(More information about genres can be found here.)
I don’t have the money to spend on a cover. I’ll just download an image from the internet and slap something together.
There are two things wrong with this idea. First, people actually do judge a book by its cover. If that cover looks cheap, with no care given, then people will assume that the writing was slapped together too. If you want your writing to be taken seriously, you NEED to give the best first impression possible.
The second thing wrong with this particular idea revolves around copyright. You can’t take just any image off the internet and use it on a book cover. You need to ensure that you have the rights to actually use that image. It seems simple, but if the wrong image is used, your book could be blacklisted. You, as a writer, could be blacklisted.
I totally understand that you might not have the finances to spend a lot of money on a book cover, but there are a lot of graphic designers out there offering booking covers at reasonable prices.
Check out Fiverr. It’s a treasure trove that is untouched.
And the final dish on this evening’s menu is:
If I write it, they will come.
This only works for big named authors, such as Stephen King, Brad Thor, and Brandon Sanderson. If you are still an unknown, you need to put in the hard work. You can’t just upload a novel to Amazon and call it done.
Writing, editing, and publishing are about the long-term game. Take your time to ensure that everything you are doing will actually work in your favour.
Don’t rush the process. Eventually, you will regret it if you do.
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2017