Writing and Publishing – What’s the Rush?

be a successful writer

by Annette Young

We live in a fast-paced society, I think you will all agree but, as a writer, I am starting to believe that collectively, there is a worldwide urge to churn out content as if there is no tomorrow. It’s fine to speed-write, I do it myself but I do spend days meticulously going back through my work and then, I have my wonderful editor/proofreader Maggie Burns who works for the Creative Competitor, cast her steely eyes over much of it.

When I wrote my novel, Who Killed September Falls? I did so in a month – I couldn’t take any more time off from my other client work and I wanted to prove that you could indeed write a full-length work of fiction in a limited time-frame if you really wanted to. With each completed chapter, I emailed my colleague and she edited the words – checking for punctuation errors but, we also discussed my goals as well as queried any discrepancies. This approach ensured speed and efficiency as well as accuracy.  

If you are a writing enthusiast, you’ll know that it’s all too easy to make mistakes. You get so caught up in your plot that you romp ahead without realising that your characters have evolved and the plot has now become more complex and then, with your mindset firmly on your original idea, you trip yourself up with these subtle changes and before you know it, bam, there’s a great big hole of inconsistency running through your plot. 

I blame the roller-coaster entity called digital publishing for this urgency to write and publish. It’s all too easy these days to get work published that somehow, as writers, we have belittled the craftsmanship of the writing process. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the digital publishing options out there. Although as published writers, we all know the flaws of Amazon and other publishing entities, we do know that without these companies, opportunities to carve out a living in the writing arena greatly diminish. In terms of benefits, it does enable good writers who were likely to remain stuck in the slush pile of publishing, to have a good opportunity to succeed. It works and I’ve made money from digital publishing but, and, there is a BIG BUT, I also see published work out there which has blatantly had very little thought going into it. 

I find this difficult to understand.

As an editor, I see a lot of fiction and non-fiction books and I help to bring them to life. I polish those words and I consider the inner message that the writer is trying to convey. I think about the target audience, I think about the consistency and style and whether those words will engage the reader. But these are the lucky books – because they have reached the experienced hands of a professional and, the writers have the commitment and desire to their project to ensure that those words are as good as can possibly be. But there are thousands of books and stories published today that have not had the professional touch. The words may still be ultra raw, a talent in the making, or, the story may have little to no substance and the characters fail to touch the hearts or minds of the readers. 

This will only deter readers from buying unknown names. 

So, this is what happens when we rush a writing project or do not care enough to edit, re-edit and then send it to a professional to give it their seal of approval. I have had some excellent books sent to me but which needed a great deal of help and there’s nothing wrong with that. As editors, we do not judge, we just focus on the task at hand, but as a reader, it is impossible to not judge a published book.

There’s a reason why successful authors the world over have editors and proofreaders. They care. 

I know that it’s difficult to produce a sufficient level of words when you work all hours and have to fit in your writing at odd times and so a lengthy project i.e. a novel, can take up months and years of hard slog but, that’s okay. You must write at your own pace. If you are desperate to get your book written but are seriously struggling, have it ghost-written and sell it in your name. If you have captured a full-length work of fiction or non-fiction to paper but are not sure whether it needs more work, have it professionally critiqued. 

All of these options prove that you care about the end result but for all those who churn out their words and never have it professionally evaluated or edited, you are taking a risk – not just with your own work but you also de-value the face of publishing. Let’s be honest, the publishing industry is filled to over-flowing with books that rarely do much in terms of sales and those that are sold but do not provide an enjoyable read are slated by readers (and rightly so) and this knocks sales dead in their tracks. But it does more than that, it adds an air of amateurism to the whole digital publishing or Indie industry. 

I advocate writing as much as you can when you can. We can’t progress unless we write and learn from our mistakes. Let those words pour from the soul, live and breathe the whole writing process and let your story be told, but don’t think that publishing sub-standard work is alright. To be a real writer, you have to care about your story or your idea, it has to have merit and integrity. To be a successful writer, you must stand by your words and create the best book or work of fiction that you can. I always think that writing is a little part of you, you breathe life into it, you give it soul and you add some of your own experiences and beliefs and maybe, if you truly care, you add a pinch of magic to it too. It’s this extra ingredient that will make your work shine above all others and enable it to rise to the top. The other elements ensure that your book has a right to take its place alongside books from top authors because you have created solid foundations upon which to carve out your writing career. 

So if you suddenly have the temptation to churn out work and publish it immediately, resist that urge. Instead, think about your readers and go for the long haul. This might only mean an extra week or two of polishing but make no mistake, your words will shine and you’ll be proud to be called a writer. 

Need any help with your book? Don’t know who to trust? We can help. Take a look at our list of author services or email any questions to: info@creative-competitor.co.uk

Why This Girl Will Never Buy a Kindle (Or Digital Book)

By Leann Zafuto

Imagine this: you love books and the whole experience of “books.” Going to the book store, picking out a crisp, clean book off the shelf (or ordering from a discounted price on-line), cracking the cover open, the smell of the page, a special bookmark, the whole happy experience. Then, the Kindle arrives. None of the above happens. Nothing. Sure there are many positives about the Kindle or an iPad (reading a book on-line), which I can see, but imagine a life (or a home), without books? Digital books only? Dull and flat. Either way, the Kindle is NOT for me, or countless friends and associates I speak with. I am not alone here.

Why the backlash? It’s not exactly a backlash vs. a “not even an option” for me. The catch is simple yet complex: I live for and love books and being an artist and fashion person, I buy tons of art and fashion type books, big books with big colorful illustrations! Therefore how could this be captured in a *gasp* Kindle or digital book that you cannot touch, smell, feeling that cracking when you first open it? Whether it be a novel or a big colorful art book, nothing about a digital book can capture all the joy a real book brings. The internet and all the on-line everything is good for many things, BUT NOT ALL. You can take away the cd for me, I get it I supposed, gone goes the collecting of that too. But this girl will never buy a Kindle!

First, I’m not worried about the space saving aspect of books on my book shelf or coffee table. I welcome it and put them even on the bathroom vanity and nightstand. They are part of my home d�cor, and show who I am and what I like. I’m not a digital machine therefore I don’t wish to be reflected like that in any way shape or form. (You took my cds; you’re not taking my books!) Books are a classic and make you look and feel chic and classic. Once they are read and upon a shelf, you almost feel a sense of accomplishment. I do. That’s gone with a *gulp* digital-anything.

Then there’s the true book experience; meeting the author. I absolutely love going to book signings in New York City or wherever I happen to be. I thrive on the many authors I have met and would never part with my collection. They don’t read a short excerpt from a Kindle, they read to you from a book! Is an author going to sign the back of your Kindle? No. It’s an honor to have met them, show my friends and proudly display these on my bookshelves. Being a magazine-addict; the collecting, or light collecting (not a pack rat here!) and the proud display and feeling of accomplishment of reading them all is beyond wonderful. Having them signed by the author; priceless.

What happens if your library when the Kindle crashes? Books don’t “crash.” Or, if it breaks. Books don’t break either. I guess it doesn’t matter if you have already read the book. And, how do you pass it on to a friend to also enjoy? How do you see and enjoy the big colorful illustrations? How do you see Andy Warhol’s prints or deKoonings images on a Kindle? How on earth can you capture Alexander McQueen’s fashion icon book with the cover holograph of the skull on a machine? The novels…I love the page turning (not sliding), and bending a rabbit ears on my old Twilight novels. Granted it’s the digital era and for the most part it’s fabulous, but digital books to I guess, save space. No way Jose!

In conclusion, (for now); the bookshelves, the accomplishment, the signings, the smell and feel, not to mention the big colorful artistic and fashionable illustrations in the books and so much more — this is just the beginning of my rant “for” books. Not “against” digital books, per say. I try to find the positives in life, usually. I find a ton in real books, fewer in Kindles or digital books. Books are classic and iconic and have so much to offer. Again saving space and packing 2,000 books on a tiny machine is not thrilling for me. Nothing beats cracking open a real book and proudly displaying it on my coffee table, signed.

I hope others feel the same and understand the iconic importance of books. Unlike cds, per say, books are timeless, they’ve been around forever! And, I’m all about timeless everything, that’s why this girl will never buy a digital book! – Leann Marie Zafuto

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