Boy, does it really suck to screw up! And I have to say that I really screwed up. You know how sometimes you can screw up? Let's say (for all of my horse friends out there) that you are in the middle of a dressage test, and you do a ten-meter circle instead of the twenty-meter circle the test called for. Or maybe you're cooking a meal, and you grab chipotle powder instead of cinnamon, and when your kids bite into their oatmeal cookies their mouth lights up. At least you can laugh at that one.
But what if the screw up is super major and thousands of people are aware of it, not just you? Yep. Me. Now. Sucks.
Here is what I did: About six months ago, I made the decision to upload two thrillers that I had written over five years ago onto Kindle, Daddy's Home and Mommy, May I? I had a couple of friends read through them for mistakes (general typos, grammar, and content). Now first off, I know better than that. Family and friends are not the people you want proofing your work. BAD idea. Why? Well, it isn't because they aren't smart. It's because they love you, and they aren't looking at your work with an eagle eye. They are reading it and loving it because it's yours. In this case mine. I also went that route because cash was tight and hiring an editor and proof reader is not cheap. However, in retrospect I would have been better saving up some extra cash and investing in my career. HOWEVER, what happened with these books was not something I ever would have imagined. They freaking took off like crazy in The United Kingdom. They both hit Top Ten in Kindle sales, and Daddy's Home went to number one. The first reviews on these books were stellar (and from readers I did not know). What I thought would happen with these books was that a few of my family and friends would buy them and that would be it. Nope. Thousands bought them, which is great until I started getting some nasty reviews on both of them. I mean, really nasty reviews. Here are just a couple:
"I am really baffled by those reviews that give this book more than one star. I wish it were possible to give none. It is actually quite insulting that such rubbish gets published at all. The plot is totally predictable, the characters undeveloped and the dialogue stilted and unconvincing. It is about as badly written as anything you are likely to read. Ever! At one point the supposed romantic hero (a virtual blank space) is referred to by the name of the villain. I call that careless."
"This book was full of errors, not just typos but grammatical and careless mistakes. Did it get proof-read at all? The subject sounded interesting, but the really dreadful standard of writing made the book, for me, impossible to read. I abandoned it half way through. I assume this was self published, but this sort of badly put together rubbish gives self publishing a bad name and does no favours to the many excellent self published books. If you can't write then please don't."
OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!!!!!! Those hurt. The night I read those, I broke out the wine (the screw-cap because the cheap stuff tends to get you buzzed faster. Kidding, kidding...), and went to bed. Then I got pissed off at
myself and realized I needed to do the work that I had not done before. I needed to pay an editor, get a copy editor, and do the extra work. Of course, I have had some fabulous reviews on these books as well, and that helps. I am not even sure if reviews always affect sales. My ego says they do.
Why am I telling you this? If you are also a writer please learn from my major mistake! I know I have. I will never, ever, ever put another book out that has not been through an editor, a copy editor, and probably three more readers. I will get opinions and not go off half-cocked.
If you are a reader, and you bought one of the earlier versions of these books and you are irritated at me, I am making you an offer. I will replace your book with any of my other books. Or, if you have not tried either Daddy's Home or Mommy, May I?, I will send you the first fifty pages FREE, so you can decide if you want to purchase the full version or not. Fair? I hope so.
Lesson learned! I hate screwing up and plan to avoid it in the future. :)