Writing Lesson #1 Don’t Rush

Too late - conceptual alarm clock showing that you are too late

Hard lesson learned. I hope this one I never repeat! Let me tell you my sob story. I released my last book, ACT OF BETRAYAL, in October 2017. I had set myself a deadline and by golly, I was going to meet it, and I did.

I’d rewritten and edited. I’d sent it out to be edited. Fixed and sent back. Re-edited again. I mean, I must’ve read this book 15 or twenty times during the editing process.  Toward the very end, I caught that I had used two different names for the heroine’s daughter. Blair and Bailey. (That’s a separate post about names.)

I knew I had a problem. I really couldn’t remember which name went with the daughter in this book. I opened the second book in the series, ACT OF TRUST. Sure enough in black and white, there was the name Blair. Okay, I got it. I went through and made the changes using the Find thingy.

Act of Trust 500x750

Problem was, between the time I looked and when I did the process, I mixed up the names. I changed all of the daughter’s name in ACT OF BETRAYAL to “Blair.” You’re thinking, “What?” Well, yeah, I just told you “Blair was in AOT, not AOB. But I mixed it up. The book got uploaded that way, and I ordered 25 print books just like that.

When did I notice this mixup? I was getting ready to do a reading from ACT OF TRUST and the name jumped off the page flashing like a neon sign.  My heart sank and my stomach tightened and red streaked my face. Oh crap!

I immediately emailed my formatter who laughed and said. No problem. Those things happen all the time. She’d fix it and send me another PDF. Whew! I figuratively wiped my brow. Okay. She sent it back, and I uploaded the corrected e-book to Amazon and everywhere else. Good, right?

Well, I still had these printed books with the wrong name. My brain tells me that I don’t remember names of characters in books I read, so hopefully, folks won’t notice. (Well, except now I’m telling everyone. LOL) Now, I’ve sold most of them and I have a book signing in June and I need corrected print books.

I really hated to go back to the formatter. Figured I should be able to fix the problem myself. Except, of course, the good copy with the right names was one for e-books. No page numbers. So, I went to my PDF for print and tried to edit it. You know there’s a little edit button on the left-hand side. Trick is I didn’t have the right Adobe thingy on my computer. After many aborted efforts, I finally got the right one uploaded for a cost—way more than I wanted to spend.

Now we’re crackin’. Almost. Making edits on a PDF is not as easy as on a Word doc. After days of working on the thing. I literally mean days, and I’m sparing you the gruesome details about times the words ended up on top of each other! GRRR! I had a clean PDF.

So then I got into it with CreateSpace, not realizing a new edition needed a new ISBN! This resulted in me having to call the good people at CreateSpace where Jose was able to delete one of the books, so I could precede. No wait time to talk to a real person, and he was super helpful.

Act of Betrayal

Now I’m waiting to get the proof (for the 4th time—because I kept seeing glitches with the spacing! And still I know there are at least two that I could not fix.)

The lesson I’ve learned is not to rush the editing process. The deadlines I set for myself are good, (and nothing for me gets done without a deadline), but they can and often should be moved. The quality of the product is more important than some arbitrary date I’ve given myself. And secondly, boy do I love my formatter. She’s worth every penny I pay her. I know some people can do this themselves. And Yes, I did get it okay finally, but all time I worked on that is time taken from working on the fourth and last book in my Second Chances Series. Not a good decision.

How about you? Writers, do you format for yourself? Do you hire that done? Or does your publisher do the job? Love to hear from you.

marsha@marsharwest.com  http://www.marsharwest.com 

https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ Blog


http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest






9 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicki says:

    I’ve done the name thingy too, Marsha, and is it silly. I hire a formatter. There’s too much brain stuff. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Vicki. I have a touch of a reading disability–it’s a left right, number & name thingy. When I was teaching theatre and had to give stage directions from the actor’s viewpoint, it was quite a trick. I’d stand up and walk through and still sometimes I messed it up. Yeah, I’m going back to my formatter, too. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  2. Kathryn Jane says:

    Been there, done that, have the t-shirt to prove it! 😀
    Glad it all worked out in the end, Marsha, and yep, deadlines sometimes need to be moved!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Kathryn. LOL Love you’ve done this, too. Makes me feel like I’m in good company. Deadlines are what keep me on track, otherwise I can just wile away the time. But I’ve learned from this experience sometimes you have to move them. Not do away with, but change. And the books is lots better now, after all the extra editing. LOL Thanks for stopping my.


  3. I started out using the Killion Group for my formatting (Jennifer is awesome!) but the cost was seriously cutting into my profit margin so I took it on myself. The first time was tough. I did everything in word, adding page numbers, headers, footers, extra pages, and my own paperback cover.
    Then, I heard about Vellum. It’s a beautiful formatting program (currently only available for Apple computers). I bought it for e-books and when they included print late last year I did a happy dance 🙂
    I highly recommend that you try it out. It’s free until you’re ready to generate your formatted book.
    Here’s the link: https://vellum.pub/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Jacquie. Good for you. I think our friend JoAnn Carson formats her books herself. I don’t have an Apple, so the Vellum wouldn’t work for me, but that’s good info for all those Apple users out there. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad to hear it all worked out. In my first novel, Between Land and Sea, I used the wrong name in one instance only. Three readers caught the error. Lesson learned: Don’t rush the proofreading step! Thanks for reminding me, Marsha 🙂


  5. Hey, Joanne. I guess we can be glad readers pay that much attention after we spend so much toiling over each and every word. I’ve now sent this book back again for review, but this is the last time. I’ll have to find a really screwy glitch to try to fix it again, and that probably means I’ve tried and can’t. LOL Thanks so much for stopping by and for RTing.


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