My Shame

I’m double-posting today, because I’m playing a little catch-up after last week’s brief foray into madness.  Allow me to explain.

After posting an excerpt from Ascension, I thought I’d do the same for The Four-Year-Old Guardian.  It seemed like a good idea, to provide a little taste of what was to come after the available sample pages.  I was going through the chapters in Smashwords looking for a scene I could post without spoiling much, when I noticed a blatant typo.  I grumbled at myself for having overlooked it (I had maybe half a dozen when I launched Ascension, much to my disappointment) and made a note of it.  Pushing on, I found another.  Then another.

Then I wandered into a whole section of text I *knew* I had edited out.

Panicking, I had to wait until I got home before I could put my fears to rest.  After all, it was bad I had uploaded the wrong draft, but it was easily fixed so long as my original file wasn’t compromised.  Which, merely by the existence of that statement, it can be assumed was the case.

Somehow, in the midst of heavy editing over the past month, I had saved over my “final” file with a draft that wasn’t quite so final.  In other words, I had lost all the changes I had made.  To make matters worse, I had asked several people to look at the book and give me a review.  And the copy they’d downloaded had at least a half-dozen errors in the prologue alone.

So, I went a little crazy and launched into full-on edit mode, reading through the book twice; once to fix errors and add new scenes and once more to fix whatever new errors I’d make in the added bits.  Then I skimmed over it once more to check for any formatting issues (which it suddenly had, even though my original was issue-free).  After a two-day binge, I was ready to re-post and apologize like crazy to everyone who downloaded the flawed version.

I’m still not wholly satisfied it’s in the shape I want it to be.  I think I managed to fix the majority of the issues, but I may give it a few days and go through it all again, just to be sure.

The ordeal may not seem like a big deal, but to me, it was horrifying.  As a self-published, independent author, I feel like a certain lack of quality is already expected from people.  After all, I have no editor, no agent.  I write in a vacuum and can only assume it’s readable by anyone other than myself.  By publishing such a flawed copy, I played into those preconceptions.  Instead of putting my best foot forward, I tripped myself up and fell flat on my ass.

I see it akin to trying out for a beauty pageant and realizing you’re trailing toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe half-way through the competition.  Or, a more manly analogy, uh…something about football…beer…boobies…I dunno.  Suffice to say, this was not the way I wanted my foray into the wonderful world of self-publishing to go.  But so far, everyone who had downloaded it previous to the update has been more than generous and I appear to be the only one kicking me while I’m down.

I appreciate the kindness, but I’ve still got to work on growing a thick skin.  It’s only a matter of time before I publish my next book, and who knows how I’ll screw that up?



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