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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Importance of Editing & Sides Roads on the Writer's Journey

Previously, at Arizona Inspiration...
I'm at the point in my writing journey where I have to make some decisions. I have to look at my time and my money and decide which services I will hire, and which I will provide for myself. On the next post, I'll talk more about my decision on that journey, and the side road it is causing me to travel.

About those decisions... In the last post we were talking about the massive amount of details and work that goes into getting a book published. Writing it is only the beginning. There are a whole slew of other services you either need to hire or perform yourself.

To me, one of the non-negotiables is no DIY editing. It's best to hire an editor before your work is published. It doesn't matter how many times you've been over your own work, you need a fresh set of eyes who can apply themselves to the task and who has the experience with books to make a difference. I don't know how much it costs to hire an editor, but I know it doesn't come cheap. So I need to start saving my money now.

What about the other stuff? Book cover design for instance? I'm on the fence about that one. I need to gather more info. What I do know is that an unprofessional cover doesn't do a book any favors and is usually more harmful in the long run. I also know that despite the fact that I may only look at a book's cover for a few seconds, it plays a major part in my selection of books to read. I have seen some book covers that were really cheesy. On the other hand, I've seen some fantastic book covers that literally lightened me on the inside and put a smile on my face. But if I can learn the skills necessary to design a quality cover, I think I'd be willing to do it myself. But the jury's still out on that one.

What about marketing? YUCK! I hate that word. But I've got to learn to like it. But more relevant to this conversation, an essential to marketing books is a web presence.

Enter that side road I've begun travelling. Every decision I make concerns the trade-off between the value of my time and the availability of a budget. My time is extremely valuable. But the other inescapable fact is that the budget is extremely small (ie. practically non-existent). So I've launched into the website design waters, with the goal of developing my own site.

But it has brought me a new problem.

You see, my greatest nemesis is the desire to learn. I like learning for learning's sake. You know why it takes me so long to write one historical? Because I could read history for hours and days and weeks at a stretch, even if it's not relevant to a story.

I started taking a course on creating web pages with the ultimate goal of training to launch my own site. And I'm working on that--slowly but steadily. But learning how to write HTML (and now launching into CSS and XHTML), has created a new monster. Designing web pages utilizes a combination of logic and creativity that very much appeals to the inner me. So like reading history, I'm going to have to have a talk with myself--regularly--to ensure that I stay on task, learn what I need to learn to meet my web design needs, then move it along. Even though in the back of my mind my voice is already saying, "Well gee, if I do well with web design, I wonder how I'd do at learning programming languages?" Yep. I'm never satisfied. 8-) But who knows? One day it could launch me into a totally different day job.

In the meantime, finding the right balance of job, actual writing time, and other writing career work continues to elude me. But for now, I want to enjoy these web design courses and see if I can put them together to create a wonderful and inviting website. Only time will tell.


Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

I enjoy your posts. Those rabbit trails can be deadly to our writing time can't they? But learning is good. I applaud the fact that you are learning HTML and web design.

Well, back to the keyboard.
Blessing on your writing

BK said...

Yes, and now that we are in the midst of the digital age, where readers want it faster---and since up to now I haven't written fast enough to keep up with PRINT media expectations...I'm wondering how in the world I'll ever keep up!