When I started writing, I really just wanted to see if I could publish. I wanted to see my name on a book. I hadn't written much since I had graduated College some 20 years earlier. It is horrible how such drilled in skills slowly deplete over time. I didn't think I needed an editor. I didn't think I needed a proof reader. After all, I was an English Major. The twenty years or the fact that once you have read a work over and over to the point your brain sees what should be there were totally lost on me.
I was happy with the two or three sales a day. People were reading me. Then suddenly, my book took off in the UK. People willing to forgive the lack of a proof reader were giving it high ratings and even those pointing out the need of editing were still liking the story. Amazon gave a stipend to quickly get it into audio. Unfortunately, by the time that it sunk in and I had read enough other blogs from writers that I needed an editor, Amazon had whisper-synced the audio. So over time I am finding errors that won't take it off whispersync like homophone errors.
That is the most distressing to me. I create and type at such a speed that despite knowing exactly the right homophone and where a question mark goes, my rapid firing fingers and brain grab the first one that comes to mind. Of course, a spell checker doesn't find those. I assure you, I know when to use than and then, they just.. interchange on my fingers.
I began second book based on the success of the first. Anyone paying attention can see the growth in my writing and improvement in my writing skills. I hired a proofreader I could afford and my editor - Alex -was growing with me. It was at this time I found out I had cancer. Getting the book out became a major focus when I was not doing chemo and battling the disease.
Robin Chambers, an excellent writer in his own right, offered to give it a final proofing. I am not sure why he first offered, the cancer.. my struggles. All I know was that I was grateful. With his help, the book rose to a much better threshold. You can find Robin here: http://www.myrddinsheir.com/
Despite chemo's relentless side effects, we got this book out.
Feedback was even better for this book. The only negative feedback, for the most part, was that it took a dark turn. Those seeking constant battle and action were quick to point out that this is a high fantasy.
So I started book 3, Bloodmines. There was a contant clamor for it. But I was so sick and it was hard to write. As I wrote it, I realized I had two choices... take a long time getting it out or make it a short quick read as a transition. I listened to readers and lightened it up. Alador meets and interacts with dragons. Keensight's humor is evident. The impact of Henrick's secret is revealed.
I got it out only a few days after the date I had promised and that was only due to a formatting issue. Robin Chambers stepped up again and gave it a final edit. That is why the dedication is to him on the final pages.
I was in for a huge surprise. Negative feedback was that it was too light.. to silly... not enough intrigue and depth. Opposite of the feedback of Blackguard. Needless to say, I was confused. My content editor, Alex Hunt, pointed out that in life, there is no way I can make everyone happy and this was true of writing as well.
So.. the final transition as of this date. I have finished Chemo. For now, cancer is in remission. And I am going to write what I want to read. I am going to make Pseudo-Dragon the book I wanted Bloodmines to be following The Blackguard. Bloodmines is a good story, don't get me wrong. It is a light easy read with dragons, intrigue and throws out a new twist. But this day forward, I am going to write what I wish I could read. Hopefully, my fans will appreciate that much more than me switching up my style to make a "few" readers happy.
Headed to Modesto for the week. See you all on my facebook or here.