August 8, 2013
Decisions About Independent Publishing
The best part about being an independent author is you get to make all the decisions yourself. Nobody tells you what to do. You decide on the story, the characters, pick your own book cover, hire your own editor, choose fonts, all of it. It’s a great, wonderful feeling.
But there’s a flip side to that. In addition to all the fun stuff, you also have to make the tough decisions. What kind of decisions, you ask? The kind where you have to decide…
When Do You Quit On A Book?
I promised everyone that my book, Old Wounds, would be released in August or September. It was to be the first in a new series starring Detective Gino Cataldi. I got it ready and sent it out for beta reading earlier this year. As I waited for the feedback I realized I was more apprehensive than I’d ever been on a book.
The first few readers got back to me and said they’d liked it. They had a lot of good things to say, but not much on the critical side. That’s always a red flag to me because at this stage of the writing process there should be plenty to criticize. Then a few more responses came in and I noticed that while the good feedback was still there, it was sprinkled with a heavy dose of critical. I evaluated each one, nodded as I read the comments and said to myself, “Okay, it’s going to be work, but nothing I can’t fix.”
And then the last few comments came in. One of them said something that stuck with me. “It wasn’t up to par with my other books.”
That hit me like a brick in the head. Why should it? I had a few readers tell me they thought it was the best book I’ve done. Others said it was fantastic, a great read. So why should one comment from one person bother me so much? I’ll tell you why, because when you hear the truth you know it. Let me state that again.
When You Hear The Truth, You Know It
That statement cuts through both sides of the coin. When someone says A Bullet For Carlos was a fast read, or that the characters in Murder Takes Time seemed so real, it makes me feel great. I agree with those statements, and hearing it from others makes me feel great and so thankful. But when I heard that about Old Wounds, the book I sent out for beta readers, I didn’t feel that way and I knew why. It was because I didn’t believe it.
A Writer Knows What’s Good And What Isn’t
I think that’s why some writers get so upset about bad reviews. It’s not because they feel the reviewers are wrong—it’s because they fear the reviewers are right.
That’s what happened with this book. When I read that comment about the book not being up to par with my other books, I knew she was right. And I knew there was no way in hell I was going to release this book because I knew it wasn’t as good as the other books. So I’ve trunked this book. I think that’s the word for it—trunked— which basically means I put it on a virtual shelf somewhere, buried, waiting to either be fixed or more likely serve as a reminder of what not to do in future books. And that’s okay. I’m comfortable with that, especially if it saves me from making those dreadful mistakes again.
A New Promise
I’m adding this to my Promise to Readers. Along with my guarantee of each book, I am making a promise that I won’t release a book that I personally don’t think is a five-star book. That doesn’t mean every one of you will think the same, but it does mean that if I don’t think it’s as good as my other books, it won’t be for sale.
Thanks so much for being the greatest readers in the world,
Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of:
No Mistakes Resumes
Murder Takes Time
Murder Has Consequences
A Bullet For Carlos
He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”