All too often I read an interview with an independent novelist and see something along the lines of: I did it all myself. The writing, the editing, even the formatting!
The exclamation point is justified. After writing a book entirely on your own, and spending what may be years — in any case, countless hours — huddled over your laptop or pad of paper, you can put whatever the hell you want at the end of a sentence like that. I believe you’ve earned it.
But one thing I don’t think you should do is keep your work entirely to yourself before you publish. For some reason — or maybe several reasons — many independent writers feel that they can produce a decent piece of work without having it vetted before it goes out into the world. I won’t lie, there may have been a time when I thought similarly, but after my experience with The Number 3 Mystery Book, where more than a couple of people played a vital role in reading and reviewing, I wouldn’t dream of releasing a novel any other way.
As I’ve mentioned in the Thanks section of the book, people like Duncan Kerr, Will Fairweather and Yasmin Selena — herself a talented writer — did an amazing job of pointing things out which I could never have spotted. For example, even though he’s not a writer, Dunc pointed out the contrast between light and dark in the book, and that the piece as a whole might benefit some from being made a bit smoother, while Will spurred me on during one month where I was beginning to think the whole thing was a waste of my time. At the end of the writing process, Yasmin was amazing. She read the novel in just a couple of days and gave me detailed feedback on everything from spelling and grammar — it wasn’t perfect… — to style and flow. And that isn’t it by a long shot. There were many other people besides that who played a part. (And I could go on all day about the many fine people who have already read / are presently reading the book and enjoying it.)
I wasn’t going to write this post — I’m conscious that I don’t want to ram my novel down peoples’ throats — but now I have I hope it might help some people. Just know one thing: you can only get better by showing others your work. Never be ashamed of what you have produced, and chances are that someone out there will love it too.
More coming soon on the marketing campaign surrounding my book. People have been asking me how that’s going, so I’m going to give it to them. For now, goodbye!