I used to think I wanted my book to be read. I was excited about having people experience my world, my characters, my hard work. I was hopeful that the book would make connections, like so many of the books I’ve read in the past.
But now? I’m terrified of people picking up my book. I’ve spent the last four months focusing on all the awkward sentences, passive voice, repeated words, and downright dumb passages. And now I can’t stop reading my own work that way. Every time I read it, the more I think it will never be done.
And this isn’t an article about why editing sucks. I think editing is great. My book is WAY better now. It’s just…it’s never going to be what I want it to be. It’s never going to be perfect; as an obsessive person, that really bothers me.
I’ve had pre-release readers read the book and come up to me and talk about how much they liked it. And I could only think: You must not like good books. Did you not notice how many times I misused conventional grammar? That weird passage that no one liked? The way my characters are always sighing? I don’t say those things. I thank every reader who approaches with praise or even constructive criticism. In my mind, they are just being nice.
My book comes out this summer, a re-release from a self-published book that took me three years to self-edit. And has taken me for months longer to re-edit. And all I see when I open the book are the glaring, smelly errors.
So don’t read my book. Or, if you do, don’t tell me until you’re done. I can’t stand that thing.
H.M. Jones is the B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree of Monochrome, now published by Booktrope’s Gravity Imprint. She has also written the Attempting to Define poetry collection, and is a contributing author to Masters of Time: A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Time Travel Anthology. A best seller only in her mind, Jones pay the electric bill by teaching English courses at Northwest Indian College. She moderates Elite Indie Reads, is the tired mother of two preschoolers, and in her “spare” time weaves, pulls with the Port Gamble S’Klallam Canoe Family, and attempts to deserve her handsome husband, whose lawyering helps pay the rest of the bills. You can find H.M. Jones on Facebook, Twitter (@HMJonesWrites), and her website and blog http://www.hmjones.net.