Patience, Patience: Publish In Haste, Regret at Leisure

Fiction Frenzy

You finished your novel on Thursday. It hit the Kindle Store on Saturday. Good, right?

Maybe, maybe not.

Around 18 months ago, I decided that I’d start writing novels again, and publish them on the Kindle. I estimated that I’d start my Kindle push sometime in 2012. Well, we’re in the last quarter of the year, and I’m still nowhere near ready to publish the first one. Slow, aren’t I?

I am, and there’s a good reason for that: platform.

Publishing fiction is all about platform — making your name.

You can publish all the nonfiction ebooks you please, and even if you write several truly horrible books, you can recover from it.

Fiction isn’t like that. Write a stinker, a novel which truly annoys readers, and you’ve lost those readers, perhaps forever. Fiction is much more about YOU, than nonfiction will ever be. You need to provide a wonderful experience for your readers, over the course of several books, preferably. Of course, you could be blindingly lucky, hit a nerve, and write a bestseller with your first book. Great. But then you need to follow it up with book #2… You can’t afford to alienate your readership, ever.

Therefore, have patience, if you’re publishing fiction.

Of course, if you’ve never written a novel before, you’re totally focused on writing, much less so on readers. You’d love to provide a good experience for your readers, but aren’t sure how you do that.

You need experience, as this writer points out, How to Write a Crappy Book:

“Once you’ve written a few crappy books, you’ll learn what it’s like to begin writing good ones.  In other words, you’ll get practice.  Some self published authors go about it backwards by writing a book, publishing it without getting it edited, and then try to build their platform by marketing the heck out of it.”

Have patience: be brave

Trust your gut.

When I was writing my first novel, over 30 years ago, I knew there was a problem in the middle of the book. I had no idea what it was, BUT I knew the problem was there.

At the time, I had no experience writing fiction. Luckily, I was working with a superb editor, who pointed out not just one, but several major structural and other problems. Once she pointed out what was wrong, I saw it too. I shudder to think what would have happened if my novel had been published without editorial help.

Maybe something like this:

Penn injures his back trying to rescue Nadia and he is forced to have back surgery. Penn’s portrayed as having real anger issues associated with his recovery and pain. Instead of sympathizing with him, I winced at every angry statement yelled and every temper thrown.

I sympathize with the author, because it’s easy to make your characters unsympathetic, without being aware of it. You’re too close to see what you’ve written, and how others will perceive your characters.

The above book was published by Harlequin, so had an editor. However, the review is bruising.

Not that I’m suggesting that your aim in writing fiction should be to avoid bad reviews. That’s not possible. Indeed, if your book touches readers at all, you WILL get bad reviews.

Here’s an example of a book readers either love or hate, Claiming the Courtesan. I love it. Anna Campbell did an amazing job with the book, however, because of her hero, and his actions, she had no way of avoiding “I hate that!” reviews. You can’t please everyone, and you need to be true to your characters.

Before you publish your novel…

Get some beta readers, and a critique partner. Pay attention to what your readers tell you about your characters.

Remember, you’re building your platform with this novel. It will sell for years. Have patience. It’s worth it.

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.