While writing Duilleog I gave many advance copies of the manuscript to my friends and family. I had mixed support. My aunt gave me inspiration and asked me a great question one day that made me go “Wow!” and make a change in the novel. One of my friends accidently threw the manuscript out with the recycling and then didn’t have the courage to simply tell me. He has no idea just how angry and disappointed I was in that single act. Mostly though, I received praise. Everyone loved it. No constructive criticism, though. So, I thanked everyone honestly and sincerely.
So I relied on my editor. She did such a great job with the first chapter. But after I gave her the full novel I discovered that what I got back was merely a typo check and grammar correction. Nothing more really. And it wasn’t a lot of effort. Probably 10 hours worth of Track Changes. I should point out that my own ability to find typos was pretty good and so the corrections were truly minor. What I didn’t get from my editor was comments on the content, the storyline, plot holes, character development. Stuff I paid for but didn’t get. What I got was: “It’s fine.”
I was in a weird place back then. I was so excited about getting my novel out that I suppressed my concern and I went ahead and self-published. I was at the point that I could no longer see the forest for the trees. I thought my novel complete. I thought it good enough. It was, but it could have been better polished.
So the other day, a good friend who is just finishing up my novel sat me down and pulled out a list of errors and corrections that he found. He talked to me about the plot, storylines, wording, repetitive use of words, things that didn’t seem quite right to him. I could have hugged and kissed him and came damn close to doing just that. And he was worried he would offend me! That made me laugh. I told him that I was so absolutely thankful that I couldn’t possibly express it properly. So Steve C.: Thanks! Sincerely! OMG, you rock dude.
So, now I need to look at putting out a second edition. There are quite a few little problems that need to be fixed. Nothing major – all minor – but stuff my editor should ABSOLUTELY have picked up and corrected. Makes me angry knowing that my editor took my money and did the absolute minimum she could. It’s shameful. I need to find a good editor and hopefully I may have a way to seek that. I’ll explain in another post.
For those who have already purchased Duilleog: this corrected version should automatically be pushed to you on Amazon. if not, no worries. The corrections are simply typos and minor changes to word use. I didn’t do too bad a job with the first edition. It’s about 99.5% correct. Truly it is.
Oh, and the excerpt from Craobh that’s at the back of Duilleog? That will now become the epilogue within Duilleog.
Thanks for reading!
Real World Event: I stumbled onto the Ottawa Writer’s Circle the other day and joined out of curiosity. Turns out they had planned a social at a pub in town today (which gave them karma IMHO). I didn’t know what to expect exactly and brought my lovely wife so that we could escape should the social turn strange and uncomfortable. We braved the cold and rain and drove downtown. As it turned out it was time well spent.
Some very pleasant people were gathered. More people had been expected, but the weather turned them away, I suppose. Happily, I met a couple of writers and had an interesting conversation about Blogging and the upcoming CAN-COM event in Ottawa (which I had not heard of). I was given some honest pointers and suggestions on activities I should be considering and soon realised with a smile that what she was suggesting interested me greatly.
So here is the blog idea: I take the world I built in Duilleog and write short stories in that world that will reveal some more of the backgrounds of the characters and world.
So, would you like to hear more about Reeve Comlin and what happens as Reeve in Jaipers? How about the days when Will was alone in the wild? How did Dawkins end up in Jaipers?
I would like to know, too. So maybe I’ll write it and post it here. For your enjoyment.
Now I just need to find the time. My new position in Ottawa is consuming me. That and my online course have taken all the spare time I normally enjoyed for writing. Craobh is suffering and so am I.
Very Slow Start to Sales
Sales of my debut novel have been much slower than I expected. I won’t bore you with specifics but suffice it to say that my most pessimistic expectations weren’t even close to reality. My previous post outlined the hardships of marketing and I won’t elaborate more on that and bore you. I will say that at the moment I don’t know whether to laugh, or bang my head against the wall.
Some people have read the novel and reached out to me to say well done – and I thank you. It is the resounding silence that is getting to me though. I had hoped to receive some feedback both positive and negative for nothing truly improves your writing than having someone informing you what you may have down fundamentally wrong in your plot, storyline, characters, etc.
I’ll admit that Duilleog is likely a bit different than most books you’ve read. For one, it is in two distinct parts. The first part is all about Will Arbor and the second part is all about the stuff that occurs behind the scenes. Duilleog is in the “first person” point of view of Will. Meaning he can’t possibly know what is happening elsewhere. So, I didn’t want to shuffle between first person and third person and intentionally split it up. This, I suspect, is the ‘out of the box’ part that one of my kind reviewers on Amazon mentioned (“Out of the Box But Original and Entertaining“). Typically a book should alternate between the protagonist and the antagonists. Or, like in A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones), switch from character to character. These methods give you a little bit of each story thread and pushes the story along. I didn’t do that. Amplification: I consciously didn’t do that. And I may be paying the price for it now.
No matter. I am happy with my story – I truly am. And I am happy that it sets up the next two books. So bear with me readers and know that I won’t disappoint. For those that read the book: please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you liked and didn’t like. I spent over 18 months writing that book – please spend 5 minutes writing me a note! I won’t bite and I certainly won’t be negative or react poorly. You have my word.
Also, please provide reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca and Goodreads. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. Reviews are what pushes books into the limelight.