Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Monday, January 29, 2018

Is your book ever finished? Letting go of your baby. #selfpublishing

One of the best things about self-publishing is the freedom it gives you to go back into your book and tweak it, change it, improve it, amend it, and oh boy, do I take advantage of that!

I think of my stories as something organic and always open to change.  Sometimes a reader might ask a question about something they need clarifying, or make a comment that has me seeing a situation in a completely different way.  Perhaps something occurs to me in a flash of inspiration, and I realise that should have been in my story… or needs removing from it. Sometimes (to quote one of my early characters) people simply change their minds.  How easy it is in these days of e-books and self-publishing to go back to that finished book and make those changes.  But I sometimes wonder if this is sensible, if I should just say 'enough is enough' and focus only on new ideas.  I also wonder if other authors do this.  

I enjoy revisiting my stories and tweaking them, polishing them, hopefully improving them so new readers might have a better experience of them.  Perhaps I should leave well alone, but I doubt  I could if I tried.  Just recently I came across a poem that almost shouted at me from the computer screen.  It could have been written for one of my characters and I simply had to go back to my very first story and do a bit of rewriting in the light of that poem. There’s always room for improvement and I'm convinced an author’s work is never really finished.  But should it be?  

Authors often refer to their books as their babies, and, as all mothers know, your child continues to be your 'baby' throughout his or her life.  Are our stories that much different?  I’d love to know if others find it easy to bid goodbye to their projects once they’ve hit those magic words: Publish my book.


Tara Fox Hall said...

Hi Lyn, I understand completely! I had my YA novel finished, then let two people read it. One loved it, and the other hated it and said it needed a complete revision as it was too complicated! So instead of publishing it last year, I put it on the side and have moved onto other things that needed to be done, and am now planning to go back to that and rework it slightly, and put it out this year. Like you, I want my finished product to be perfect, and I want to fix all the flaws...which seems to never get done! Having said that, I usually only go back to a published book to actually fix typos, if I notice them or get feedback that "too many" are in there (1-2 I can live with). But I plan to do more self-publishing this year, so will likely do more tweeking in the years to come, lol. I'm also toying with the idea of narrating my non-fiction book about my father's diaries myself, but I'm not sure how hard that would be to do, or what equipment I'd need. Hope to TTYS!

ManicScribbler said...

Hello Tara - always a great pleasure to hear from you, and thanks for stopping by. It's good to have critical beta readers to point things out, but a complete revision - oh dear! I wonder if readers realise how influential their comments can be. Narrating your book about your father's diaries sounds like a wonderful tribute to him. How proud he would be. Wishing you the best of luck with that project. I hope you'll keep me informed.

Tara Fox Hall said...

I hear you Lyn, lol, but I'd rather severly delay a book than have it go live and then get a bunch of bad reviews.
My father's diaries are not a tribute to his life, but more a cautionary tale of what not to do. But yes, I think he would be proud. I'm happy to have you read the final version if you like, it should be ready soon. Jenny T. can give you a good idea of the book's content, so you are not shocked. It's taken me the last 2 years to compile it. Hugs and good wishes!

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