I find it fascinating how easily and naturally we slip into recap mode as a year on the calendar winds down. We reevaluate, take stock and look back at what has worked and what hasn’t and we begin pondering our options, rethinking decisions and choices. There are definite phases and passages to life.
For me the last several years have been about attracting new clients and the emphasis has been on growth. It has been fun and exciting in the fast lane.
My GPS is re-calculating
A few unexpected, serendipitous events have helped me to realize that I want more time for friends and family. Relationships, both on a personal and a professional level, have risen to the top of my priority list. Quality is more meaningful than quantity.
The importance of balance
I find that I want to concentrate on better serving existing clients. I also need time for other things and for people who have been neglected. Life needs to look different in 2014. When I feel restless it is an indication that it is time to expand some things and rein in others.
This is going to be a year of transition
How are you approaching 2014? Is there a course correction on your horizon?
Unless you are ‘of a certain age’ you will not relate to Guy Lombardo’s orchestra playing Auld Lang Syne. You may even have to be Canadian. I sat with my parents on many a New Year’s Eve and listened to the old year ushered out to this tune. Out with the old.
I see dozens of authors posting their daily word count on Facebook. I understand the sense of accomplishment and I know the precarious perch of self worth on which most authors are balancing. But volume is not necessarily productivity. Quality over quantity.
Independent authors usually have day jobs. There are mortgage and car payments, daycare, food, utilities…red ink. It is easy to hope you can get by without professional editing, but if you ask a few who have done it and then had to eat crow while pulling their books down and reloading them after an edit, you can grasp the fact that you are much better off to do it right the first time. Which does cost money.
Please fix this permanently in your mind. Every word you use is a cent you spend. It doesn’t matter if your editor charges by the hour or by the word. Tightening up writing consumes time. If your editor has to do it for you, it will show on the bottom line. I charge a cent per word of your original word count. I just did a 2000 word sample edit in which I deleted over 500 dead-weight words. See what I mean?
Readers become bored quickly. Keep the action moving along. Don’t waste time and space with inner dialogue and musings in your characters. This is not a journal or diary. Don’t get bogged down in flowery descriptions. If it is not critical to the plot the fashion commentary is just so much bilge. Details about decor are superfluous. Keep it simple.
It has happened to me. If you ever purchase a book with my name in it, and suspect some gremlins have run amok through the printing-house, please contact me and I can clear things up.
I now have a clause in my editing contract which states:
5. SPECIAL CLAUSES
Other: Author is responsible for insuring that the FINAL EDITED DOCUMENT is the one sent to the printer or publisher and any discrepancy between said document and the final version the editor authorized is the sole responsibility of the author and in no way a reflection of the quality of the editorial work. (Please initial) ______
That little legal escape hatch helps not at all out in book buying land.
Both the author and editor can survive this seeming fiasco. When we receive emails pointing out our ineptitude we respond with good humor. Nasty reviews don’t go down as easily. Sometimes all you can do is say ‘Oh well’.
Never hesitate to ask an author or editor if some unfortunate slip-up has occurred.
Do not just blindly assume that they are incompetent nincompoops. Any self-published author is only too aware of the cost of printing. Trashing the entire print run (“Off with their heads!”) only sounds like a solution to a lottery winner.