My poor literary blog has been calling me in my sleep, in my dreams, and it has screamed for attention. I have been so busy with my work. I actually write some 5000 words a day most days. I write for clients in my copy-writing business, I write on three personal blogs (obviously this one has been neglected), and I am working on my next book, “Twisted Ride.”
This book will be my first attempt at a fiction novel. I`m very excited about it, and yet, I have learned the hard way as a writer to not rush things. That is what is on my heart today—don`t rush anything as a writer.
I`m speaking primarily to creative writing, but most certainly, this also applies to academic writing as well. The biggest mistake I made in my very first published work, “Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems,” was that I was in such a big hurry to be published! My book Apples of Gold was published as an eBook and did very well in spite of grammatical errors and the horrible cover it had. I changed the cover on that book about four times during its availability on smashwords.com.
That was a lesson in itself—a book is judged by its cover! I finally came up with a cover for the book that was a hit, and it made a huge difference in the daily downloads of my book. At one point, I decided to make the book available for free on smashwords because I wanted my name out there. I wanted readers to get to know me and not have to take a chance on an unknown author with their money. The book began to show an average of eight downloads a day, some days as high as fifteen, and never less than five. Then I experienced another hard lesson, one I had heard other authors speak of but had not yet experienced personally.
I had heard other authors speak of purposeful “bad reviews” done to their work by competing authors. There was even a story in the news at that time about a very well-known author, a best-selling author, who had himself done this to another author (I wish I could remember the names but I cannot). I remember thinking to myself how childish and weird this was.
As I said earlier “Apples of Gold” was flying high. It had several five star reviews from readers (I think about 10 if I remember correctly) and had over 2000 downloads on smashwords. It was number one in the “free” short story/poetry genre for over 6 mos. It was in the top ten (I believe it was at number two or three at the time) in short stories/ fiction/ poetry on smashwords, period—then it happened.
Someone gave the book a horrible and obviously inaccurate review. Now, I know I`m bias because I`m the author; however, I can assure you that I`m not the mother bear protecting her cub here. The review was so off base that it was obvious to anyone who had read the book that the anonymous reviewer had not even read the book—it was a purposeful hit to knock the book`s ratings down.
There was a short story in the book called “The Vase.” This story (also available in my paperback “Voices from the Heart” on Amazon) was a metaphorical portrayal of a woman and how, like a precious and beautiful vase, a man should be careful to never break the vase because even though it can be glued together—it will never be the same again. The reviewer went into some kind of neo-feminist rant about comparing a woman to a possession and gave the book two stars.
The book fell on the ratings list like a rock. I think it landed on the tenth page of the listings, as I recall, because of one horrible and unfair rating. I tried to contact smashwords about this issue and see if the rating could be removed, but with no success. I decided to un-publish the book altogether.
What does that have to do with hurrying our work—I don`t know—I just wanted to tell that story for some reason (laughing).
As to my advice about slowing down in the writing process—this is vital to your success, believe me! Don`t rush yourself to publish a work; take the time to get it right. Take the time to allow the creative process to fully bloom. Take the time to write, re-write, and edit. And finally, DO NOT self-edit! Let another pair of eyes or two look at your work. God bless. WP