I started reading the fifth book or so in a YA series I really like. In fact, I like the writing so much I actively studied how the author constructed her imagery. It also has everything I like in a story–demons, special powers, magical places–all still here on earth and therefore somehow reachable for us humans.
I saved this book as a treat. I made it through Dance with Dragons, which I milked knowing the next one might not be released for a decade, finished writing a story, and now I get to balance my time between the reading and the writing.
Three pages into the story, my heart was broken. In one paragraph, the author describes a girl looking more innocent and younger than usual because she had no make-up on. A page and a half later, she describes the girl’s dark smudged mascara that made her look like a French movie star. I went back twice to check–yep, she just did that.
I took it personally for a moment. How could she do this to me? She is one of the best authors I’ve seen when it comes to keeping her details immaculately straight, and she abandoned me, right there in the first chapter of book five. Where were her friends on this one? Who had her back? What was her publisher doing when this got by them (I say ‘they’ since a publisher is rarely one person)?
I’m currently talking to a small, start-up publisher about a novella I was working on (I say ‘was’ because I got off track with the plot and put it away for a bit). I’ve also read a lot of opinions on publishing from as many posts as I could find on WordPress, and I’ve talked to my friends who are published about their experiences. We all agree that publishing is changing. One thing about publishing that will never change, however, is the need for a good run, or five or twenty runs, by a professional editor to make sure that you have actually crossed all of your t’s and dotted all of your i’s.
While I’ve read warnings about researching publishing options before jumping in, I feel good about my publisher option because he did insist professionally on paying a professional, independent editor to go through my story at least twice before publishing it. I feel that, if nothing else, he at least has my back on this.
I also expect any other author out there, and my friends and family, to keep me from officially publishing inconsistent details in any of my stories. I don’t care if the story is 900 pages and I’m asking you to read very carefully by Tuesday–I need you to read it, not just skim it enough to flatter me. I will pay you, take you out to lunch, loan you my condo in Mexico for a week (if you edit well for me, I might actually sell enough copies of something to buy one of those).
I will, of course, finish reading this book. The writing sounds a little rushed–definitely not as polished as her earlier books–but I love the story, anyway. I also imagine that she curls up in a little ball at night knowing that the mistake slipped by several people who were paid to catch it and cries herself to sleep.
Please, I beg all of you, don’t let your friends publish inconsistent details.