In the Rush to Publish We Run the Risk of Sharing Our Words Before They’re Ready
The final error of self-publishing for us to look at his publishing too soon. Too many authors frustrated over not being able to get a traditional book deal or find an agent make the mistake of jumping into self-publishing prematurely.
They finished their book and made every effort to produce the best possible one they can, but it may not be ready for the world to see. Even if they avoid the first eight errors of self-publishing, these don’t matter if the words aren’t ready for the world to read. Sometimes the better solution to self-publishing is to work on becoming a better writer, to hone our craft and write words people want to read.
But in a desire to get their book out into the real world, they publish it before they should. I know. I almost made that mistake.
Publishing Too Soon
My first serious book, which still sits on my computer hard drive, received much effort on my part to make it a truly great book. Multiple critique groups had given me feedback, most encouraging. Beta readers had read it and offered a few suggestions for improvement. I shopped it to agents, who all declined to represent me. I even sent it directly to a couple of publishers. There was no interest. Sometimes I received no response and other times a polite “no thank you.” A couple even gave me a little bit of feedback, but it wasn’t too helpful.
But no one said, your book isn’t ready for publishing. That’s what they should’ve told me because it wasn’t. Only now do I realize that. Had I self-published this book, a memoir, I would have embarrassed myself and hurt others. I also would have damaged my book writing career before it began.
I recently identified a half-dozen things I needed to do to fix the book’s problems. It would require major editing and a lot of time. I hired a developmental editor to give me feedback before I went to work.
She agreed with all the corrections I knew the book needed. Then she confirmed that even with these changes, the book would still fall short of what publishers look for and what readers expect. I’m glad she told me the truth before I spent too much time trying to make a book work that never would work, short of a total rewrite.
I’m so glad I didn’t self-publish that book because I would have been publishing too soon.
Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.