I'm following J.A. Konrath's A Newbie's Guide to Publishing blog, and more specifically his post on the rules of epublishing as I prepare my YA novel, Into the Shadows, for epublication on Amazon and Smashwords this November. (Click here)
According to Joe, rule number one is this:
1. Write a damn good book.
He also suggests joining writers' critique groups AND editing it yourself. He feels that if you're a writer, you should be able to edit as well.
So have I succeeded in properly following step 1? I think so. Into the Shadows was written before I joined SCBWI, however, after I joined, I brought many of the chapters into the group for critique. I even managed to get a friend from the group to read the full manuscript and give me an excellent critique. It was awesome and gave me a lot to work on, but it made it SO much better. The book has then gone through a couple of solid revisions. I'm currently putting it through the ringer one more time. After having the opportunity to critique other people's writing over the last year and a half, I've gained a much better eye for what works and what is bad, bad, bad! Add an editing (technical) class at DePaul this spring and I feel like I'm sufficiently qualified to edit this book.
Could a REAL editor do a better job. Of course. Many of them would have years of experience on me. But being that I'm getting my master's in writing and publishing, I should be able to do an editor's job as well. And those editors had to start somewhere.
Oh, and is the book good??? Well, I like to think so. It was well received by my fellow writers and out of the many rejections, it did get requested in partial and in full a few times. I was doing something right to get it requested. I like to think that it's an even better book now, with all of the knowledge I've gained. It may not be the book that would be out there if a publishing house got a hold of it, but it will in fact be the BEST book I can produce with the experience I have. We'll just have to wait and see if that's good enough!