Cutting my own bangs, waxing my own … (never mind), attempting to apply false eyelashes fifteen minutes before a big event, washing my second floor windows from the inside of my house (with my ass hanging out of the bottom half of the window), fixing the ice maker in my freezer–these are just a few of the many DIY projects I have failed at.
That and editing a 415-page novel.
Friends who purchased The Gym Show between March 23 and April 14 may have noticed a few mistakes in the final manuscript. I can’t describe for you the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach once even one of those mistakes revealed itself to me, not to mention the “I feel like opening a vein” reaction once I discovered there were even more. It is painful for me to even write about it now.
When I first embarked upon this self-publishing odyssey (and make no mistake: the fact that a title is self-published is not a derisory attribute), I contacted another self-published author Dina Silver, a friend of a friend. I explained to her that I knew nothing about the publishing game, and I was looking for any advice she could proffer. The one thing that she told me is that under no circumstances was I to even conceive of the notion of editing my own work. Half of me agreed with her; the other half–the half that said, “I edit stuff for a living,”–told me that in the absence of an editor, just roll up your shirtsleeves and do it yourself.
So I did. And Dina was right. It came back to bite me.
I work in the QA department of a software company, and in QA, enhancements to the software must be tested over and over again, sideways, up and down, diagonally, using every scenario imaginable. Same goes for editing. I have learned, the hard way, that when you’re too close to something, you see it as a series of blurred lines; that is, you tend to skip over parts that you know should be one way, or you promise yourself that you’ll get back to it and fix it, and then you forget about it. That is exactly what happened to me.
That, and I was also working full time writing and editing software manuals by day while I was writing a novel at night. That’s a lot of words running together.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not making excuses (for there is no excuse for grammatical errors from someone who claims to be a writer), but I will tell you that I had secured the services of an editor; however, shortly after our initial meeting, he faced a rather devastating health crisis within his family. Understandably, his services were no longer available and rightly so. That’s when, in a hurry to get the book out before spring break, I decided to go bareback. I had good intentions, but, again, it ended up being a DIY fail.
So here’s my deal: If you purchased The Gym Show between March 23 and April 14, I will make good on my promise to deliver a quality product, just like anyone who creates or delivers something. Just like the new HVAC system we had installed in 2012 that crapped out on us yesterday, or the pair of jeans I just bought from Kohls with a missing button. I will replace your defective product with an improved version, one that has been tested over and over again, sideways, up and down, and one of which I am very proud.
Two weeks ago, I found a scathing review of The Gym Show on Amazon. Last night I discovered another review–not as scathing, but not very complimentary, either. It didn’t take me long to put together the dots and discover the identities of the two individuals who wrote the reviews, not that it matters that much.
Each of the two reviewers had been well within their rights to write a review; however, the first review was just plain ugly. And this person knows me–that’s what really sucks. Let’s just say that it is entirely possible for me to hand deliver to both of these reviewers a more polished version of The Gym Show without the aid of a full tank of gas or a GPS. Given the opportunity, I will do so graciously, happily, and without malice.
Now quit writing crap about my book.
And you better believe that, as with many experiences in life, I have learned several valuable lessons. The first is never get involved in a land war in Asia; the second: never, ever edit your own 415-page novel.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.