If you read my last post, then you already know that I once published a failed book. Not only was I naïve, but I knew I was not objective.
But when I settled down many, many months after, I reviewed the book and spotted many mistakes. I share the blame with the printer. I won’t call him a publisher, he’s just a printer disguised as a publisher. Whenever you spot people like those men, run all the way back home and then some.
The publisher does not ask you to review your work before the print day.
This was a colossal mistake. I sent him the first draft in hopes that he would read through and tell me things I needed to adjust. That was merely wishful thinking. But back then, I didn’t know that he was masquerading as a publisher.
- I was too eager to see my book in print. Never, ever let your adrenaline and excitement overtake you and lead you throw your money away to a vanity press without getting your return on investment. My eagerness, in addition to my naivety, delivered a shoddy job. Of the one thousand copies I paid for, the publisher delivered only sixty on the approved day. I travelled all the way to pick up my books only to be disappointed. The number was short, the cover looked watery, some of the pages were melded together, and the printing was lacklustre.
It looked like an afterthought of the printer.
But that’s okay. I didn’t sell a single copy. Not just because I review the books of other authors, but because it was an all-round terrible-looking book that I myself wouldn’t have picked at a giveaway.
- On reviewing the book, I believed the plot was unclear. The POV was confusing and unclear, and the story lacked imagination. I also found a lot of punctuation errors, typical of any first draft. In the end, I figured that the book would have been a lot more interesting if I had outlined the story in the first place. This would have helped me trace the plot better.
- I was sorely lacking a character outline, and it was glaringly obvious in the book and not the manuscript. A character outline is important for every story you write. You can make bullet points or write it as flowing text, whichever you prefer, but make sure to write one.
- The book needed thorough proofreading. Because I did not plan for the book or have enough money, I should have called favours. At least one or two friends could have helped pick out errors. I failed to do that and I suffered dearly for it.
- I had no idea where I put the research for the book or if I even did extensive research. What I do know is that the next time I decide to do a book, I will pay for cover design. Why? It’s the cover that sells the book, as far as I’m concerned. A friend designed for me and all I asked was if he had graphics design experience. He did, but my cover did not look good in print.
- There was no acknowledgement in the book and for a first book, that was key for me. A lot of friends had come together to make my dream a reality. I crowdfunded on my BlackBerry Messenger and my friends and family came through. I wanted them to feel good about the work as much as I did even though they didn’t ask for that.
If you’re wondering what the title of the book is, it is Set Sail, a failed endeavour that brought me so much clarity.
A mistake I would rather not have made.
Have you made any mistakes in your writing career? Reach out in the comments and let’s chat.