Recently, I did a post headlined the best advice I can offer which was essentially the text of my response to a writer re getting his (her?) book published. As I answer, as much as I can*, all kinds of questions via email and on social media (even as I try to pick up advice for the challenges and hurdles I face), I smell a possible series. Or maybe not. Anyway, here’s another ‘the best advice I can offer’ drawn from the text of a response I posted to a writer who wondered when you get over the fear of being edited.
I have published several books with publishers of different sizes, and my experience is you don’t get over the fear but you do it anyway. It’s important to try to make the book as good as it can be before it’s out in public – where critics and readers will be even more unforgiving. Beta readers, a paid editor (a service I provide), writers’ groups, workshops, and self-critique (after putting the manuscript down for a while), and mentors have all been helpful to me. The fear is going to be there but I’ve had to find ways to hurdle over it, crawl under it, walk around it. I’ll also tell you as I tell my editing and coaching clients, and as I practice, try to review the edit notes or take in the critique in manageable bite sizes (if it helps) – rather than trying to swallow it whole (or take it in all at once). Try to find feedback (by whatever means) that is specific and helpful, feedback you can use; so that you can focus on the work without questioning your worth as a writer. We are all works in progress. [END]
And, yes, before you call me on it, there was some upsell in my response; I am an author and freelance writing and editing professional #onthehustle after all. I have edited books, essays, fictional stories, articles, academic theses, and more. Yet, because God has a sense of humour, I am currently involved in rigorous edit of one of my fictional stories guided by notes from my mentor and have an article that received a pretty savage rejection (understatement) queued up for revision and hopeful submission to another market. I’ve had some really good editing experiences and some really rough ones – I try to say open even as my spirit wants to clench up. It’s all part of the work of working to make my work better. Nothing to do but, per my (admittedly sometimes shaky) mantra, feel the fear and do it anyway.
*because I can’t answer everything individually and because I’m always gathering information for myself (as I try to do the work on and for myself), I share what I gather, as far as the writing and publishing journey is concerned, on the Resources (for writers) page on my other blog.