First, let me admit: I’m guilty of rushing the production of my novels. It’s very true. I’ve released novels before they were ready and suffered the consequences. However, I didn’t have anyone guiding me on the straight and narrow. There was no one yelling, “Slow the eff down!” like I’m doing for you.
Producing a novel when it is not ready is a big issue. It’s something that can make or break your sales.
So far, I’ve probably resubmitted Barcode: Legend of Apollo at least twenty times. There were large and small changes. Funny thing: My sales saw a spike with each change.
That can be your issue too. But there’s something you have to understand: If you make too many mistakes, you risk losing potential downloads. What does that mean? Obviously, there were errors within the first few pages that many readers noticed. When readers would preview the novel, they’d turn away and sneer, “This dick published a novel before it was ready. I’m not going to buy that or download it for free.”
Recently, my novel saw a somewhat random boost in sales. I went from a few hundred downloads per month, to a thousand downloads in five days. This was because of strategic online marketing, but I had no clue I’d rise to the number one spot in High Tech Science Fiction. I was also Top Ten for Science Fiction. Could you imagine if I had those same thousands of people saw my novel and turned away because of a few grammatical errors?
How can you avoid this?
Get An Editor
Slow down. Breathe. It’s not the end of the world. A decent editor can help you with a 100,000 word document for $300. An excellent one will charge you around $1500, but I haven’t met anyone truly worth that much money. Get a cheap editor and send your document to several beta readers.
Hold For One Month
Many people don’t tell you this, but you shouldn’t rush edits. After your editor gives it back, your work isn’t done. They did their very best to correct your errors. Now, you have to fill in the gaps. Respond to their comments and improve the story. It CANNOT be done in a week. It CANNOT be done in a month. This is just the beginning.
Get Several Beta Readers
The magical minimum number is three beta readers. Get three honest opinions from people that will tell you where the story fails. Ask those readers if they’d be willing to give you reviews the day your novel comes out.
Hold For One Month
Review your novel for a month or two. If it’s your first work, you need to send it to a different editor that’s cheap. I know people say you shouldn’t spend too much money, but editors help you improve your skill. Believe me! Sending your first novel to two editors will improve your skills more than you can imagine. But don’t forget to hold it for another month when you get it back. Spend time perfecting your craft and reading other similar novels to see what you’re doing differently. Compare and contrast.
After you’ve had your product for 3 months to 6 months, publish it. Slow and steady wins the race.
I had my novel from November to February. I waited on cover art, editors, beta readers, and friends to promise they’d buy it the first week it came out. Nine months later, I had a best selling novel in Science Fiction. I’m cranking out novels left and right, now that I know the process, but I still take time to go back and revise.