DIY Publishing – One Way To Bring Your Work To Life
Amazon and other on-line publishing platforms have given rise to an exciting DIY publishing revolution. By many measures, we haven’t even seen the zenith of where this is all going to. Through a newly liberated publishing process, a new culture of fringe authors and publishing entrepreneurs can bring work to life.
For all of the do-it-yourself freedom that Amazon provides an air of caution needs to be taken. Simply because you can put your manuscript up on-line does not mean you are truly “book ready”.
The steps to a polished book are the same as through the traditional means. All that DIY publishing means in this instance is that authors are more liberated to undertake those steps on their own terms.
One of the ways new authors attempt to get around the editing process is to “self-edit” their manuscript. What do I mean by “self-edit”? Frequently, when faced with the prospect of cost and/or time, or the simple mis-perception that editing is an obstacle, a new author will try and edit/rewrite their book on their own.
I do some self-editing on my articles and manuscripts. After I write and re-write a chapter or a book section, I will often go back and make a few logical changes. I take notes on story elements that don’t make sense. I axe repeated words. I tie in dangling story lines that are either extraneous or underutilized.
I am aware, however, that this process of self-editing can only go so far before it works against me. I know what my character is supposed to look like and feel like. The settings are vividly laid out in my head, so I am able to fill in the gaps, allowing my descriptions to convey that picture. Even when I read dialog or internal monolog out loud, I tend to change the natural flow, adding inflection to words and phrases to ensure that they capture the meaning I want them to. In a sense, self-editing keeps an author in the echo chamber of their own voice and vision at the expense of broadening appeal.
I cannot be as honest with myself as a professional can be. And editing is your manuscript safety net. If something doesn’t work on the page, I need to know.
A writer needs that second set of eyes… and more of the time, a third and a fourth too. Self-editing can catch basic mistakes, errors and repetitions… but bringing a manuscript up to book level? Not very likely.
I am a firm believer in Ira Glass when he says that people get into creative work because they have a heightened sense of taste. If you are already far enough into your manuscript that you are thinking of publishing it, you very likely have read enough to know what you like and what is good.
Don’t fall into the trap, however, that you are an objective arbiter. A writer is a person whose imagination exceeds most, if not all, other personal attributes. When it comes to improving your manuscript however, don’t let your imagination get in the way of improvement.
And don’t make the mistake of DIY Publishing an unpolished work – Instead hire a professional to objectively help you uncover all the necessary edits that your imagination may have obscured.