Do you remember as a child jumping into the swimming pool? Launching yourself off the deck by the tips of your toes, into the thick sticky summer air, curling yourself up into a tight knot, hoping to hit the water hard, wanting to make the biggest, loudest, wettest splash.
I sort of feel that way about going it alone.
I want, whatever I do, to make the biggest, most powerful impact possible. And it’s all about having a compulsively readable book. I won’t have the benefit of a big publishing house behind me, heck, I won’t even have a small publishing house behind me…what I’ll have is my team, the people I choose to surround myself with. Those choices amount, essentially, to how tight I’m curling myself up, readying to break the surface of the publishing pool.
It begins with an editor. A good, heavy-handed, honest editor. But that’s hard. Each brings something impressive to table–sometimes what’s impressive is simply just what they charge. But still, I visit their websites and amaze over their credentials and whit, beautifully laid out digital pages of reviews from past authors and bright book covers and promises to give your book a resounding voice.
For me, choosing an independent editor was two-fold process.
First, and most importantly, I had to get the sense that this was someone I could actually work with. Someone who would read my questions and actually answer them…since, lets just face it, I had a lot of stupid, new-to-the-party kinks I needed to iron out. You can just tell when someone is actually on your page, where what you’re saying is translating.
Giving your book away is a damn scary thing. Every single word, mistake, flaw, character, conflict, drama, resolution–they’re mine and I own them. By hiring someone to take the”red pen” to the paper (okay, so everything is digital now with word tracker, but you know what I mean) is saying “change me”…take this from me only mine and make it some of you, too. Scary, right? But exciting when you realize you’ve found someone who sees the book in your terms and the context in which you wrote it.
Secondly, they had to fall into budget. Yes, the B-word. I have this thing called living expenses that still matter very much in spite of everything else going on, and those bills, they just don’t go away. So, yes, I was working with a set figure on how much I could spend and still feel good about myself.
The kicker to be “new” is that there were moments when I felt like people were lined up to see what my boundaries were. Dollar figures like $3,000 and $1,800 were spilling out of my e-mail and I was literally sending out an SOS with my tears. I was walking that fine line of thinking is this even worth it? Yes, of course it’s worth it…but…
I’m not saying those editors aren’t worth their price…of course they are! But, to be honest, I never planned on spending much on publishing (actually, I kind of thought I’d make a few bucks…) so forget about anything with 4 figures.
But, when it all boils down…nothing, absolutely not one single thing, is easy about this. If it was easy, everyone would do it. And…I can finally say it…finding the right editor was worth it…
Right now is probably a good place to announce that I am literally jumping for joy. I found someone. Someone who is going to take this rock and polish it up for the public!
I’m on my tip toes, people! CANNON BALL!!!