It’s just over four years since I published the first ever edition of Still Dreaming, and I’ve learnt a lot since then.
At the time, I boasted about how I could do everything myself – editing, proofreading, cover design, etc. – and, as such, that I was saving so much money.
Older me knows better.
Twenty-seven-year-old me knows, for example, that you can read over the same document three hundred times and still miss a typo that a different person, with a fresh pair of eyes, can pick up in moments.
Proofreaders and editors are worth their weight in gold, and if you want your book to be the best, it’s a good idea to invest in hiring one (or both).
Editing and proofreading are skills that I now offer other people (having now learnt the skills, myself), but I no longer rely solely on myself to do it for my own books (as per the reason mentioned above).
I’ve also learnt a fair bit about formatting and cover design since two-thousand-twelve.
Still Dreaming (and all the rest of my books) have been updated a few times since then, and I’m a little bit embarrassed about the earlier versions, truth be told, but I’d probably do it all again, if given the chance.
I mean, sure, if I was doing it again I’d do it differently, but the only reason I know what changes to make is because I went out there and tried. I made mistakes, I learnt from it, and now I’m better at what I do. I’m even able to help other people, which is great.
As for the money thing: I couldn’t have afforded to hire an editor back in 2012 even if I wanted to, but I have paid the literal price since, ordering new proof copies each time I updated anything (which was often).
If I’d been more patient and less arrogant, I’d probably have waited until I could have afforded to work with professionals, but then, as I say, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I’m very happy with where I now find myself.
I guess the main thing to take away from this is to be wary of advice from newbies – especially if that newbie is yourself.