When I was just a reader I would skip over the parts of the books where the author would say thank you to all the wonderful people who helped contribute in many different ways in the creation of the book. I also never took the time to write thoughtful reviews of what I read.
As an author I realize that even though I could manage through a book completely on my own, it makes for a much better book when you get professional help. Proof positive of this statement is if you have read both my books you will see a marked increase in the quality of the work. From the editing, the structure, the flow and the technical content of the book all are drastically improved from the first to the second book.
The author comes up with the story, the plot, the characters, and all the descriptions and dialogue, but with the help of others it becomes polished, clearer, and more professional. As I may never have an Agent to thank, or members of a staff from a major publishing company, I am building my army of specialized help as I go along. The reason for this post is to inform budding authors who might be following along with my posts in order to trudge down the same path in their near future.
First off you must find an Editor! Hire one if you have the means. If you don't there are knowledgeable people out there who do help aspiring authors for FREE. I know there is an argument that you should never do something for nothing, but as my Editor tells me to help ease my conscience is that it is her way of paying it forward. I have a wonderful lady friend who I thank God for daily who has helped my writing improve in so many ways it is indescribable. She has saved me from coming off looking like a know nothing hack to looking like a serious up and coming author. Jo Murphey, My Editor, and literary Angel, I can never thank you enough. I honestly believe if enough people give my second book a try, and I build enough of a following I will be able to pay her for services rendered on future books. I can tell you right now, no matter how much you pay an Editor, it isn't enough for what they contribute to your work.
Secondly, you need to acquire Beta Readers. This is so important. I now am getting feedback and questions as I write the rough draft as to points that are unclear. People don't know if that person is human or an alien. How big is the cocoon? How big is the dragon? Do they get bigger? As you get feedback and questions concerning your work you can adjust things, add better descriptions, to be clearer in the rewrite. Oh, you will re-write it, if you want it to be great!
Collect the names and sites of book reviewers, to help you get the word out. Both my first two books were out before I had a chance to get them reviewed. For number three, I will try to get it in the hands of some reputable reviewers who read the first two books so I can get some reviews back before the book goes live on-line. Maybe some author interviews before hand to help build the hype for the release of my next book.
Lastly, keep track of those wonderful people who do help you with technical advice, research, and art work so you can acknowledge them in the book. It is the least you can do for their help. I have mentioned Phillip Woody, my best friend and biggest fan, who is also my number one Beta Reader. He already has several names as possible Titles for the second Alexander Hawk Book. I sold two books, one to his mother and another to his grandmother just because his name was in the first book. At this point I will take any and all sales I can get.
I want to say thank you in Advance to Anthony "Nino" Piranio, for the technical weapons advice and information for the type of pistol and shoulder holster young Alexander Hawk will wear at some point in the second book of that series.
Finally a word about book reviews. If you are not going on line and writing reviews of the books you are reading you really should. Your fellow readers are interested in what you thought about the book. It helps your favorite authors sell more books and hopefully writing more books rather than stabbing themselves in the eye with their pencils. If you didn't like a book I would say just walk away, don't review it! Maybe it wasn't your cup of tea. There is enough negativity in the world we don’t need to spread anymore around. I would hate to think a few overly opinionated readers dashed and trampled the dreams of an author just starting out because they didn't like their book or it wasn't all it could have been.
My first book Whisper could be much better than it is, but I am a hell of a lot better writer than I was in the beginning of 2010. If I ever get picked up by an agent or publisher for traditional publishing I may go through it again before they publish it. Any publisher worth their salt would insist I go through it again before re-releasing. Write reviews for the books you like, to help support your favorite authors.