My print proof of The Lords of Valdeon came last week. I was giddy when I opened the package. Pouncing on my iPhone, I took pictures of the new book baby and quickly posted them on social media. Big grins and giggles filled the office as I placed my new book on the shelf of honor. Sigh. It just never gets old.
I spent years writing and editing the story. My critique and proof editors have gone over it with hawkish intensity. I’ve done my due diligence by following all the best practices as much as possible. My expectation: This book will be perfect. A literary masterpiece!
Then I began to read the proof.
Me – “Hey, this looks great! I love the designer’s formatting choices and dang don’t the words look fabulous on cream colored paper!”
A few chapters in.
Me again – “Ah d*#@ it! I thought I took that paragraph out. Why did I use those words? Should I rewrite the scene?”
Suffering from a big dose of self-doubt, I lost sight of my joy and chose to focus on the imperfections instead. Then a good friend and fellow writer reminded me everybody goes through this before and during new releases (Thank You, Jayne Hyatt!). Hell. I’ve been there three times before and experienced the same reaction.
In the world of software development and quality control there is a saying, “There is no such thing as Zero Defects.” Techie Translation: Chasing perfection is an unrealistic goal that can paralyze and hinder success. You do the best you can at your level of skill and accept your product may be 95% to 99% accurate. Then you plan a mitigation strategy for those unexpected errors.
Am I giving you permission to upload your crappy first draft to Amazon or Smashwords? NO. I’m saying, do the absolute best you can at your current skill level. Shoot for 99% and work on doing an even better job on the next book.
Final Thoughts: I have faith in the Lords of Valdeon and the entire Heart Of The Warrior series. It’s a hell of a story. One that I’m proud of. Is it a literary masterpiece? I’m working on it.