Telling The Truth–What I’ve Learned To Be True

So, as I mentioned in my blog below, I received a request for a partial read.  The only catch is–my book is going to the editor tomorrow.

I was put in a place of having to tell the truth.  I had to write this agent and say–listen, this book isn’t perfect, I know that, so be prepared and I’m sorry in advance.  But, believe me, I’m also working on it.  In one month, the story will be better.  My voice will be clearer.  So what you’re going to read–while a solid effort on my part–isn’t perfect, not by a million and one mistakes.  (Okay, I didn’t phrase it like that…but I did say “this is going to a freelance editor”)

So…here is my truth…

If I could go back in time and do anything differently–the one thing I wished I known then–is that, what I sent out should have been edited by a professional.  I should have hired a professional editor prior to doing the querying thing.  I should have had an editor lined up, ready to go, chomping at the bit for my manuscript and cash.  That is what I should have done–it’s exactly what I didn’t do.

This is something I never thought of before.  The thing I didn’t consider.  The thing publishing books won’t tell you.  No where, not in all of my reading did I ever come across phrase hire someone before you query.  It was a regrettable oversight–one I’m openly talking about in hopes to save others from my undoing.

When I was walking blissfully into this whole publishing thing, I really thought: hey, I wrote the book, that’s my job–I did it.  It can be a “come as you are” manuscript because if I sell the book to a publisher they have an editor.  I’ll do content editing.  I’ll rewrite and rehash and edit for clarity…but my sloppy mistakes–someone bigger than me will read through them and find the nugget of potential…right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

The truth is…as a new writer…my first footfall needed to be perfection. If I was brazen enough to ask someone to take a chance on me–a first timer from the Midwest who has never published anything before–it needed to be amazing.

I sloughed the responsibility off on other people, when the whole time, the onus was always on me.  I failed to see that.  I made a big critical mistake–and sitting here right now, sure as God made little green apples–I believe that hurt my chances.   And as much I wouldn’t mind being an Indie…that doesn’t mean it’s an excuse for a lackluster performance.

The agents who have taken the time to entertain my query…they were patient, kind folk.  And I’m truly sorry I didn’t take that opportunity and shine.  I’m sorry I bothered them with novice mistakes–honest though they may be.

When I finished THE MILESTONE TAPES, I could not wait to query.  I wanted to be swooped up and adored…and, yes, I was really silly enough to believe that.  I didn’t think about my first impression as much as I thought about the light at the end of the tunnel.  Remember–in my first post–when I said I was new, green and fumbling?  This moment, right here, is exactly what I meant by that.

Ten years from now, when I kind of/sort of have this whole thing figured out, I’ll look back and laugh, probably blush a little, and shake my head in stunned disbelief.  This was a one time mistake.  Next time around, before the book is even finished, I’ll have an editor ready to go, I’ll sit on my freaking hands if need to be to stop myself from querying before I’m really ready.  I’ll take the paces and give the book the space and time it needs to be amazing.

The truth is…you get one shot.  That’s it.  One time, one moment, one read.  If you blow it–it’s blown.  And, if you’re going blow it…being unedited is really, really, really not worth it.  Blow it because your book is a crazy, genre-challange machine of epic proportions that some people don’t get.  Blow it because your better off Indie and that’s who you want to be, because you can’t see yourself handing off your book and crossing your fingers that the finished product will look like what you first wrote.  Blow it because you’re a risk–a beautiful risk.  Anything less, you’re just selling yourself short.