Humility vs Perfection and the sweet space in between

Shackles Cover 3 full.jpg

Humble is a good place to live, right?

I’ve had an interesting week. Shackles, the first novel that I wrote (over a decade over *cough*) never found an official publishing home. It did get my foot in the door with my current publishing house though, so I’m grateful for that.

A few years back, I read Shackles again and I still loved the characters and the plot. At that point I decided to put it out as a ‘warts-and-all’ freebie to give readers the opportunity of checking out my writing. Bait, if you will. I even wrote a ‘warts-and-all’ disclaimer in the preface because I just wasn’t going to re-edit the whole thing again. (Besides, I’d checked it twenty-trillion-times and had some others look over it for errors too and we were all happy that it was fine.) I knew I’d have to re-edit at some point, but with new books to be written, that never really loomed large on my horizon.

Fast forward a few years to this week.

Out of the blue, four new reviews arrived. Check them out here. All of them positive – some so lovely that I wanted to cry and hug my dog. Considering my allergies, that is quite something.

BUT…

A significant number of these reviews commented on a few grammar and typo issues.

*DIES* but (even bigger BUT…)

Here’s the weird thing, they loved the book anyway.

My immediate reaction was to start re-editing. Sorry kids, make your own supper. But I’m also currently writing to deadline. So what is a girl to do? I feel like I’m parading Amazon in my ancient bikini, the one with the elastic that has given up on life.

It is humbling.

But it’s also beautiful because I know that what they are falling in love with is not my broken ability but they are seeing Jesus through the cracks of what I can produce and are loving Him in the midst of typos and dodgy grammar.

It just doesn’t get better than that.

So I do have a chapter-a-day-only-after-I’ve-met-my-word-count editing plan. But it will take time and in the meantime, I’ll be out there warts and all for the world to read. And strangely, I’m okay with that.

I’d love to hear from you. Perfectionist? Any humbling happening in your life right now? Please tell me I’m not alone in my ancient bikini.

(This blog first appeared on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog.)

 

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You want to publish my book? No thanks!

I’ve either just made the best decision of my life – or the worst!

I’ve walked a long journey with my novel Shackles.  This journey includes being accepted for publication in South Africa by one of the three major Christian publishing houses – only to be told a year later that the market had changed and fiction publishing in SA was no longer viable. At the beginning of this year, one of the other SA Christian publishers said they will publish it if it is still available – when the market changes… The third doesn’t do fiction. So my options in SA are all out.

Enter… a friend of a friend in America.  Let’s call him Mike.  Mike loved my work and offered to publish it via Booksurge on my behalf. He had dreams of establishing his own publishing house and was just busy putting his own book (non-fiction) through the process.  At first I justified it to myself as not being self-publishing – after all, Mike was publishing my book, not me. He even had a name for his publishing house.  But the more I looked at it, the more I just knew that it still boiled down to self-publishing.

Being on Twitter has opened up a world of agents, published writers, yet-to-be-published writers, publishing houses… I’ve had such a new perspective on the whole industry. I’ve come away with two certainties:

  1. Self-publishing is good for those who have a platform. (I don’t.)
  2. Self-publishing your own book paints it black in the eyes of agents and traditional publishers and will adversely affect future publication prospects.

So… this week I made the decision and told Mike no thanks. I’m so grateful for his interest in my book, his high opinion of Shackles has boosted my confidence in my work.  But with the long term goal of being published traditionally firmly in my sights, I’m simply not prepared to go that route. Even if I have to wait. And wait some more. And some more.

Question:  Have I made the biggest mistake of my life?  Or not?