RANDOMS by Jena: Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part IV

So, before I started writing this post I went back and read Part III of this little series.  MAN, has a lot happened since my last update.  Well, first I guess there’s that little detail of me being a PUBLISHED AUTHOR.

Ok, let’s get caught up.  When I did my last update, I was in full swing of rewriting my book, The Devil You Know.  I made it five rather lengthy chapters in before I couldn’t take it anymore and I sent it out to about six writer friends of mine to take a peek and determine whether or not I was turning out good reads.

The overall consensus was good but a few things were needed.  That led to a screeching halt on The Devil You Know and the start of Burning.

Burning tells the story of the event that leads to The Devil You Know.  The one event that triggers the whole thing and kicks off the series.  I ended up writing, editing and publishing it in a tiny bit over a month.  That sounds crazy but it’s really not.  lol  Burning is only a short story.  In 8.5″x11″ pages, it’s only thirteen pages long.  It’s a fast read and the sole purpose was to tell about what happened that evening.  The only complaint I have received thus far is that it’s too short.

Currently, I am running an average rating of 4.25 stars on Goodreads.  However, I only have 16 ratings as of right now so I am anticipating  that the rating will probably decrease as I get more reviews.

See, in talking to other authors, I have found that the biggest hurdle they all had to overcome was understanding that reviews are not the end of the world.  There is one single truth that can completely change the way any author handles bad reviews:

Everyone gets bad reviews.  Everyone.  Even the best of the best authors on this planet.  And not because they wrote a bad book.  No, they get an ocean of good reviews and then there may be one review that is just BAD.  I mean, tearing apart their work with reckless abandon.  Stephen King, Anne Rice, Michael Crichton…they’ve all had bad reviews.  Even if a book is AMAZING, there is always going to be somebody, somewhere that just thinks it SUCKS.  They read the same book as everyone else but didn’t walk away experiencing the same story.  Sometimes, this results is a stinging review.

The part that sucks is no matter how much you prepare yourself for the fact that one day you WILL be hit with a bad review, they still hurt.  Even the most “prepared” author will be bothered by a bad review.  Authors get defensive and rightfully so.  It would be like someone telling you that you have a bad kid.  A book is a labor of love and creativity and to have someone tear it down, no matter how ready you think you are, it is going to hurt.  I know some authors that refuse to even bother reading their reviews anymore because seeing the bad ones sucks enough that they overshadow all of the good ones.

I know that one day I will get hit with a real scathing review.  For right now, I am going to enjoy the good ones and when that fateful day comes, I hope that I handle it well and learn from the feedback.  I also hope I don’t hunt the person down and ask them what is wrong with them.  lol

That brings me to The Devil You Know.

I am back to working on TDYK regularly and I think I am finally starting to make some good progress.  Due to some personal issues, I wasn’t able to work on it for about a month due to lack of focus but I am finally back to it.  The problem that I have bumped into more often than not is editing-while-writing.  I have developed a habit of writing a few paragraphs and then reading back over it and tweaking.  This has made the process lag a bit and I am trying to get away from it.  I want to just get the book out of me and worry about editing when the editing time comes.

And editing.  Ugh.  I have finally found something I hate more than sushi.  Editing sucks.  It really does.  The first lesson learned was a hard one.  I sent Burning off to far too many people for editing help and everyone had their own style and suggestions.  This is great in that the editing help was appreciated but there comes a point where you realize that some people are just rewriting the piece in the way THEY would have written it.  I drove myself insane trying to rework Burning so that I was able to accommodate everyone’s suggestions and changes.  I hit my breaking point when I got through the third person’s suggestions, made the changes, moved on to the fourth person’s suggestions and found that person #4’s suggestions completely contradicted what person #3 had for editorial changes.  That’s when I threw in the towel.  

I went back to the way the book was prior to any changes.  I then took all of the suggestions under advisement and if I agreed with the change or could understand the reasons behind their suggestion, I incorporated the change. Otherwise, I just passed on it.

Once I learned that lesson, things became much more simple.  I know now that when it comes time to start editing The Devil You Know, I will choose a small group of people.  One person will read for round 1 edits.  A second person will read for round 2 edits.  And so on.  Part of the beauty in self-publishing is having complete and total control over the process.

So, that’s it where everything stands as of right now.  I am hoping to have a release date picked out soon.  I just don’t want to pick the date until I am in the full swing of editing.  I know I can always change my date if I want to (love self-publishing) but I would rather set a date I am confident I can hit.

Thanks to all for the continued support!  I am ever so grateful for everyone that has stood by me in this adventure.  You’re all awesome!

Until next time….


Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part I
Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part II
Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel:  Part III

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  1. Editing while writing is by far my biggest problem also. I am glad I’m not the only one who does this! Best of luck in everything Jena! 🙂

  2. Thanks lady! 🙂 Yeah, I need to get out of that habit. Things move much faster when I do.

  3. boomergrl49 says:

    Hang in there, Jena. We believe in you!

  4. Like an interior decorator, an editor has to put their own style aside and take on their client’s style. I have done interior design and literary editing, so I know this first-hand. Asking other authors to help you edit is not going to get the job done. You need to find an *editor*. An editor that writes is fine, but they need to have actual editing skills and the ability to JUST edit.

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