I’m on the cusp of publishing my first novel. I’ve reached the final stages: book cover design, formatting for the various eBook readers, prepping my new website, and planning my marketing strategy.
One of the key steps is approving the final draft as formatted for printing. This is the point of no return. Once I send in the draft from the publisher, with my corrections added, and formatted for print, there’s no going back. In essence, my book will become a part of literary history. 100 years from now, some reader somewhere will be able to find my book on a dusty shelf in an antique book shop, or pick it off a table at a garage sale for twenty-five cents, and read my work. So I’ll be judged for the rest of human history on my writing ability partly on the quality of this novel.
Which is why I agonized so much over the final read-through. My wife and I both read the entire manuscript looking for typos, spelling errors, punctuation goofs, and the like. I’d read each chapter dozens of times during the writing process, wrote five official drafts (and probably a few more major revisions that didn’t seem like full drafts), and used Word’s spellchecker and my own proofreading skills with each new draft or partial draft.
We were amazed that we each found a large handful of typos. Perhaps I was more shocked than amazed. I was so-o-o glad we both checked because my wife found five or six typos that I missed. But now I feel that no matter how well my book is received by the reading public, I didn’t throw something together just to get my name in print. As most novelists will attest, we put our hearts and souls into our writing. When we release a book to the public, it’s something akin to sending a child out into the world as a newly-minted adult. I want to send my “baby” into the world knowing I did everything I could to insure its chances of success.
My question to you: What project, book, painting, work assignment, term paper, piece of art, invention, business idea, etc., have you agonized over before sending it out into the world? How was it received? How did you feel at the moment of “birth?”