It is Sunday morning (0500 if you’re curious) and I’m writing my blog post from work as I wait for a test program to finish running. I've been working from 0300 – 1200 the past couple of days and that’s why this post is a little late. I’ve been working these hours because of the refueling outage going on at the nuclear plant where I work. The outage is officially over but I will remain on early hours for the first part of the week. Lucky for me, I’m a morning person and I don’t mind these hours at all.

I received a huge surprise in the mail on Friday. My content-editor Lee Dilkie sent me a picture his artist wife created. Here’s a picture of it as well as where it now hangs:

Incredible! Lee was one of my more outspoken fans and a little over a year ago I asked him if he would be interested in taking a look at Peacekeeper 2 before I published it. He agreed. But instead of just providing limited feedback, he gave me some very good advice on specific elements of the story. In other words, he became my content-editor. He will be helping out with Dragonverse Origins as soon as I have something I can send him.

I was going to fire off what I've written so far but the other day I found myself going back and making some changes to early chapters. That means things are still in a state of flux and I would rather send Lee something that won’t be drastically changing after he reviews it. He’s not my copy-editor or proof-reader; that’s my wife’s job. Lee’s part in all this is to take what I've written and tell me where I've gone wrong. Having another person review your writing can be scary because it is YOUR work. But, if you are open to suggestions (as you should be) and you get the right person involved, having a second opinion concerning the plot is a huge help.

I once thought that I could go it alone as a self-published writer. Please do not make this mistake! Writers, especially new ones, need to have someone else who is willing to tell you where you are wrong look at your work. Thinking you can go it alone is a huge mistake and it’s where most self-published writers fail. Releasing a book to the public that has a poor plot, is filled with grammatical errors, and is generally poorly written is what has given self-publishing such a bad rap. The “self” in self-published does not mean you are going it alone. Taking the time to properly edit your novel will earn you some respect from traditionally published authors. Do it!

Traditionally published authors have their books reviewed by an editor hired by the publisher. I friend of mine was traditionally published and then put out a fully edited self-published novel. That novel went on to be nominated for an award which caused her former agent to give her a call. The book was picked up by a publisher and re-edited. There were changes made – some of them significant. And this is a book that was written by a well-respected author and already edited.

Self-published authors have a duty to their readers to make sure their novel is as polished as one put out by a traditional publisher. At a minimum, you should have your novel looked at by a good editor. Listen to what they have to tell you. In my case, I have a content-editor who looks at the story from a high-level and steers me in the right direction. I have a copy-editor who corrects my spelling and use of grammar. I pay someone to produce a reasonably good book cover. These are up-front expenses for most self-published authors. But, if you’re serious about your novel and you want to be respected by traditional authors, it’s something you have to do.

Origins now stands at just shy of 30,000 words. This is going to be a fairly large book. If you enjoy dragons with a bit of science fiction thrown in to take the edge off the fantasy aspect then this book is for you. I’m not sure how I’m going to position it though. It’s part of the Dragonverse series but it takes place far before the first book of the series. I don’t want to make it a prequel because it provides a link between Dragonverse and one of my stand-alone novels (I’ll let the reader figure out which one). Still noodling on this one.