Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rough Choices Being for the Best I Can Be

While writing Home, it felt like I was just writing something a muse was whispering my ear. It didn't feel 100% like my own story, but it is.
When I finally found a press that would publish me, I was elated. At the time, I had no professionally published credits to my name. I had no real experience. I was still learning, as one ought to do in writing.
Recently, I sent a new draft in with a little expansion of the story, and I waited, and a week and half later, he responded to me with an email telling me I was good writer and storyteller, but he wanted to know if I just wanted to get this story out with a lovely surface-edit or did I want to make it a great story with a difficult, harsh edit?
As someone who's been writing most of my life (since age nine) and suffers from debilitating perfectionism, I want nothing more to be a great writer. I know that my book is going to down in the Library of Congress forever and it would forever be a mark of what kind of person I was and what I believed in.

So, I chose the tougher route. It meant it would take longer to edit, and it would take longer to polish. Yeah, it stinks that I have to wait for my first novel to come out. But, I've been writing for twenty-seven years, a few more months aren't going to kill me. I know better than to write for the money, which would have pushed me into the soft edit. Will there be mistakes in the manuscript? Maybe. Will there be things I regret later about the book? Maybe. But I don't want to go ahead and rush-publish without getting the most of those taken care of as possible.
Personally, I hate it when I read books that start out a series so wonderfully, and then they go to seed later on.  Most of the time, this is because authors start on Level 2 or Level 3 editing, which is you either do the edits you signed the contract for, or you don't get published and you have to give back any advance money. But after a few hit books, some authors get put on Level 1 editing, which is basically, "Hey, you're a cash cow, we just want you to get the book out under OUR publishing house because we know your name will make money. You don't have to listen to the editors, but we'll give you an edit anyway." It basically when publishers get nervous that their hit writers will run to another press that offers more money (oh, I wish I got that!).
I don't know if my writing career is going to take off. I don't know if I'll be a hit writer. I learned the hard way: don't write for the money. This industry is absolutely difficult to succeed in, just as difficult as the acting or the music industry (both of which, I've had a taste of). You're lucky if you make super-loyal fans (and I hope one day I can say that). I personally fear that I'd be selling out (if by luck, I had some success and got on Level 1 editing) if I said, "Hey, no big deal, I have the option to not to accept this edit, or that one, or THAT one!" and put out something less than my best.
I fear that ego. I don't ever want that ego. Please slap me if I ever brag about taking the easy way out instead of the hard way.
So, Home might be out in the fall or winter of 2016. Maybe in early 2017. But I damn sure am going to try to present my best for all of you.

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