You’ve probably heard the old adage, “Patience is a virtue.” I grew up hearing it. And now, with Prism World so incredibly close to completion, it’s a saying that hardly ever leaves my mind.
Anyone who knows me will be quick to tell you that patience is a virtue I am lacking in. A common post on my Facebook page, for instance, might be something along the lines of, “I’ve been told patience is a virtue. I seem to have lost mine, so if you find it I’d really like it back.” Patience and I have never been friends, and that is doubly true when it comes to my books.
The great irony in all of this, however, is the fact that hardly anything is more important than patience in the publishing world. Recently, I had 2 articles published in a magazine. I wrote them summer of 2010. The issues are for August and September 2013.
I’ve had a long learning curve in the publishing world, professional and self-publishing alike, and most of my challenges have come from my impatience. Take the 5 books that I wrote and printed before Prism World, for instance. I was so eager to get them out that I failed to put the time and effort I needed into cleaning them up. The result? Horrible grammar mistakes, misspellings, and even entire paragraphs that ended up missing. But this time, with Prism World, I was determined to do it right. It’s been tough.
Writing the book was the easy part. I started writing Prism World in October of 2012. By May of 2013, the first draft, all 83,000+ words of it, was complete and ready for editing. Now, in the past I have been in the habit of hurriedly throwing together my own cover, going through the book once or twice to catch the big errors, and then throwing it up on the web for publication. My books were usually up for sale in the same month that I finished writing them. And unfortunately, that fact was painfully obvious in the quality of the books I produced.
My first step this time round was to get a good cover for my book. I located a fantastic artist on DeviantArt who charged a very reasonable price for the work and have spent the past couple months working with her to create the beautiful artwork I now have for the cover. She even offered to do the cover text for me, which was well appreciated.
While working with my artist, I also have spent the past several months reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading the book itself, correcting errors and rewriting scenes that didn’t quite fit. My mentor, Glen Robinson, also offered to help me proof it. But while I’ve put forth all this effort to make my book as good as possible, there is still this little issue with patience.
I ordered the print proof of Prism World the other day, and more than once I have caught myself staring aimlessly at the member dashboard of my CreateSpace account as though that was going to make the book arrive any faster or somehow magically generate royalties. And so I’ve had to teach myself to sit on my hands or do something else, anything to distract me from the long, grueling wait.
I honestly believe that the key (or, I should say, one of the keys) to being a successful, self-publishing author is to learn patience. Of course, saying this is easy, and obviously I’ve got a long way to go. But just because I’m impatient doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the reality. My writing is important to me, and I want my books to be the best that they can possibly be. And so while I wait not-so-patiently for the day (which will be very soon) when I can happily say, “Prism World is finally available!”, I will continue to distract myself with games, work, new story ideas (including a possible sequel to Prism World), and my own sort of mantra:
“Patience is a virtue. Just deal with it and wait.”