First Novel Yuckishness


One of my biggest regrets as a writer is that I started doing it before I had any earthly idea how to do it well.  I know as a former writing teacher that you have to start by starting and you learn to write better by writing.  There is no substitute for that redundantly repetitive redundancy of practice.  And that is the mistake I made with the first novel… not the first one I ever wrote… the first one I ever tried to get published.  I finished slapping the stupid thing together in primarily superfluous paragraphs and short chapters, and then sent it off to a publisher before I lost all willpower to try.  The mistake was in choosing a publisher that was revolutionizing the publishing industry with cheap-o flim-flam tricks.  If you have ever considered Publish America as an option… don’t.  They work well as a way to get your students published and excite them about writing, but you can send them a bag full of grocery lists and they will publish it, telling you they have no intention of changing your unique style… all editing is left up to you.  It is a crap guarantee that guarantees crap, no matter how good a writer you are.  If I had wasted one of my good babies on the venture, they would own the rights to it for seven years.  They do diddly-do-dah to promote or market your book.  Everything is up to the author.  They don’t even read the book.  They make some effort to contact your family and people who know you and hawk the book at ridiculous prices that I wouldn’t pay for Hemingway and are satisfied with the profits they make selling a dozen copies.

Now that the term of my contract is up, I have to decide what to do with this novel.  It is a hog-slop mish-mash of words and weirdness that no one could every truly appreciate as literature.  It is juvenile blather that I would be truly ashamed of if more people had bought it and wasted their time reading it.  (I don’t regret my friends and relatives reading it.  They deserve that fate for one thing or another over the years.  No one is without sin.)

Aeroq1 Aeroq2 Aeroq3 Aeroq4 Aeroq6 Aeroq5  You can see that I have made some attempts already to adapt it into something somewhat more-or-less interesting by using my rights to adaptation to make it into a graphic novel (These panels are merely rough draft form.  If I do this, it will end up in a much more finished, web-comic form.)  I am able to reclaim the entire book as of October of 2014.  I just haven’t decided yet if it is worth the effort.

It was a learning experience to do this Aeroquest book-like thing.  I learned a lot about what not to do.  But I did end up $12 dollars in the black from the experience.  The second book was a much more expensive proposition.  I paid I-Universe for editing, proofreading, and training in marketing and promotion.  They took the time to teach me all the proper steps and how to work towards eventual success.  They even set up this blog for me and trained me how to do it.   But I had to pay them.  At this point, three years later, I am still in the red with this book.  And they never mention that to be a success as an Indie novelist, you have to write more than one of these danged novel-things.  Hoo-boy!  But I am on it.  I will write to my last breath, and I guarantee you that I will tell some stories.


Filed under humor, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

5 responses to “First Novel Yuckishness

  1. juvenile blather

    If we can recognize this rather than have someone else tell us this about our writing, well that is a big step in writing maturity and meaningful self criticism.

  2. I’m finding that the beauty of writing in the digital age is that it’s easy to go back and fix mistakes like first novel things that I just didn’t know or didn’t research well enough before publication. Good editing is a must but, over time as you learn to work with good (and free) beta readers and reviewers, you’ll catch a lot of the stuff that just doesn’t work and you’ll find that a copy editor will be the only editor that you need.

    If you publish digitally and you wait to release as print on demand until a few buyers of your books have given you an honest review, you’ll eliminate a lot of the headaches. Too, multiple author friends have told me that it’s typical for less than 2% of their sales to be print. The most I’ve heard is 5% for indie authors. That you’re leaning toward a web comic for a redo of your first book makes sense but you may want to consider publishing a digital graphic novel too for readers that don’t want to wait for every new installment and, when you decide it’s good enough, a print on demand graphic novel.

    • Good advice. Thank you. I have already learned most of this the hard way. I am a better proof-reader and copy editor than some of the people available to hire, but I feel like I got my money’s worth with I-Universe, because they were able to provide an experienced editor that had worked for years with Harcourt and then Penguin Books. They gave me some good advice on writing for the YA marketplace. I only had to change things slightly to follow their advice, not a major re-write. I found their assistance with social media marketing to be invaluable, even though I had blogged before. They put me in touch with other writers, publishers, and illustrators that have become real friends (even though I have never met most of them in person). I have old graphic novel work that was rejected by traditional publishing that I might be able to resurrect as well. Thanks again for the timely input.

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