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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Don't Be Afraid to Correct Your Mistakes - #WriterlyWednesdays 11

Welcome to Wrtery Writely Writerly Wednesdays 11. Today I want to delve into the often embarrassing world of mistakes.

Don't Be Afraid to Correct Your Mistakes

We all hate making mistakes, but for the Indie Author, they are all but inevitable, especially when we're just starting out in this business. Authors going through the traditional publishing route have teams of people behind them: editors, artists, back cover writers, marketing experts. Self-pub indie authors have themselves and anyone they can afford to hire to help them with aspects of their publishing.

The likelihood is, indie authors are going to make a mistake sooner or later. We try, very, very hard not to, but it happens. Mistakes alienate readers, so it's best to fix them before they go live, but sometimes they slip through.

This post is all about not being afraid to correct those mistakes.

There is a wonderful ability with eBooks - it's very easy to change something you've screwed up for free. If your doing print on demand it's going to be harder and probably more costly, so you need to be even more careful. If you are doing a complete print run, then you have to get it right first time. Thems the breaks. I come from an eBook background, so that's what I will be talking about.

Type Editing

Wittegen Press
$2.99 | £1.99
Amazon | Other
First thing I have to say is, with very few exceptions, it is impossible to edit your own book to a high enough standard. You need help. If you can afford it, hire a professional editor, if you can't, beg, offer favours and get other people to read your book and help you edit it, even if it is your second cousin once removed with the English degree.

But on to the point of my post. As an indie you probably don't have the money or enough friends you are willing to alienate ;), to put the book through as many iterations of change as a traditionally published book (although to look at some trad pub books, I'm not sure they went through more than one iteration of anything ;)). It is possible the odd typo or even incorrect word will appear in your first edition.

It is really easy to go back and correct these mistakes and release a new version with the corrections. What is even better is those who have the option set up at places like Amazon, get the new version automatically. You don't even have to admit you made a cock-up ;).

Maybe I Rushed to Publish?

Just occasionally we authors get over excited and rush into things. The book might be typo free, the cover beautifully rendered, the blurb crafted superbly, but actually there's something in the book that just isn't quite right.

I'll hold my hand up and admit I did this once. I released one of my books too soon. One of my secondary lead characters just wasn't right. I went in, re-edited that character from beginning to end and re-released a book I was finally happy with.

I don't recommend that anyone make the same mistake, but if you do, don't be afraid of correcting it. Just because the book is out there, doesn't mean it's set in stone.

N.B. One note about making changes to your manuscript - unless the changes are very small, I recommend always working from your master text and then recreating your submission copies. If it's a typo, I go in and correct the individual documents, if it's multiple changes in multiple places I always start from the master and work down. Of course if you are only submitting to one place in one format, i.e. Amazon, you master probably is your submission copy :). I also always create a new version so that I have a copy of what was published in case I screw everything up. 

The Title

Titles are HARD.

There are a few people that find coming up with titles incredibly easy. I would just like to let them know that the rest of us hate you :P. Not really, but, for most of us, titles are a pain in the bottom. Books rarely make it through the traditional publishing route without title changes from the author's original.

The thing about titles is they have to say so much in so few words and for an indie without a huge marketing campaign, they have to sell the book in so many ways. With the internet it's all about key words and grabbing attention and not breaking any of Amazon's rules.

I have one book where I have already changed the title once and now I'm changing it again. I know it's a great book, but it doesn't seem to have grabbed the right audience to pick it up.
  1. It started off being called Advent, with no sub-title, and it was a stand alone book so it had no series name.
  2. Then I realised there were going to be more books, so it gained a series name: Vampires: The New Age. However, series names weren't very big on Amazon at the time so that didn't help much.
  3. So I changed the name to The Avebury Legacy to make it more grand and give a hint as to what is in the book. Still not the right decision.
  4. Now it is going to be called Blood Sacrifice, with the subtitle, The Avebury Legacy, which I think is way more exciting, invokes what the book is about and uses the subtitle feature.
The book is about vampires and an ancient ritual and I hope the title invokes that much more than the original one. We'll have to see.

The Cover

Maybe we all have that one book that is a pain in the proverbial and Blood Sacrifice is definitely mine. I've changed the cover twice and not just because of the changing title, I mean I've completely redesigned the cover. The book is dark paranormal fantasy, it has magic and very nasty, horror based vampires and it's a new adult book. That's quite a mishmash. Here are my evolving covers :)

In the first one I was focusing on the big bad, the vampire Dahlia. Then I moved on to focusing on my hero, Nate, but he was still lacking something, so I completely redesigned him for cover number three and also brought in Lexie, my other lead. I originally had Nate shirtless in the third cover as well, but it looked too much like a romance novel, which it isn't. It does have a little romance because I like a little love along with my blood thirsty vampires, but it's an adventure with a quest and battles all over North America and one in Cornwall. I like to think of it as Tomb Raider with vampires.


It's often hard to admit you've made a balls-up, but sometimes it's all you can do. This book is my bane, but I refuse to give up on it, because it's a good book. I'm planning on re-launching the book with the new title just in time for Halloween, so wish me luck!

The Blurb

This is the easiest part of the book to change as far as eBooks go. Some people get paid a decent amount of money to write blurbs; it's what they do and they are very good at it. Other editors in their organisations go to them because the blurb is an art and not everyone can do it. Being an indie means you have to try and teach yourself how to do it no matter what.

I'm not going to try and tell you how to write a good blurb here - there are many long articles written about it and I suggest you just Google the subject to find them. What I will say is, don't be afraid to change up your blurb whenever you need to.

I will leave you with one thought, don't be afraid to correct your mistakes, just try very hard not to make anything worse ;) Thank you so much for reading.

Still pimping out the Share a Scare Halloween Blog Hop. It will run on the 31st October as you would expect, but now is the time to sign up.

Have something a little bit scary to share? All bloggers, authors and artists welcome. Just click the link to see all the details:

And here's another wonderful blog hop all you authors might be interested in. The Trick-or-Treat blog hop is run by the lovely Patricia Lynne and the idea is to give away free books to trick-or-treaters visiting your blog.


  1. My second YA I pulled and did a complete re-edit and gave it a new cover. What prompted it was I was giving someone a teaser and I read and cringed. That's the nice thing about publishing myself. I could easily do that.

    1. Yep, although you have to do everything yourself if does give you some freedom, doesn't it. And good for you - takes guts to do something like that.


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