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Nov30

Top three reasons why you need to publish your crappy novel.

A couple of days ago, I wrote a tweet discussing why you need to publish your novel.

Screenshot of Wilmar Luna's tweet that says, "I want all writers in #WritingCommunity to know, and this is something I have seen frequently. Don't be afraid of publishing your crappy novels and don't believe one novel will set you for life. Write many stories and publish to the best of your current ability.

I want to further expand on this tweet to explain why I strongly believe you need to publish your novel now rather than wait for it to be perfect.

Here’s the reality when it comes to writing. No matter many times you go back to revise your work, to edit a sentence here, to change a word there, your novel will not be perfect. The writing won’t ever live up to your expectation. There’s always something you could change to make the story better.

This is a normal part of the publish your novel process.

As the old saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I fully believe that a writer achieves their maximum potential upon completion of the final draft of their book. It is impossible for an author to write better than their current level of experience.

If you read some of the behind the scenes for “The Sandman” comic series. You will see notes from both Neil Gaiman and his editor Karen Berger that they both didn’t think Neil found his “voice” until much later into The Sandman series. That means that Neil still hadn’t fully matured into the author he is now until he was several comics deep.

If Neil Gaiman needed to write several comics before finding his voice, what would that mean for you? You need to publish your novels in order to find your voice.

Reason #2: If you don’t publish your novel, someone else will.

Ever watch a TV show or movie trailer and think to yourself, “Oh my God, that was my idea!” No matter how original you may think you are, someone somewhere has the same idea you do.

All of our “original concepts” take inspiration from personal experience. Whether we’re walking around a quiet town, watching a TV show, reading a book, all of these experiences feed into our imagination. We are unintentional thieves. We take pre-existing ideas and remix them into our own.

In my about page https://www.thesilverninja.com/about you can read about how video games and characters inspired the idea for The Silver Ninja.

So if you’ve got an idea for a cool new concept or an awesome new series, publish your novel first before someone else does.

Reason #3: You need to accept that your writing might not be great.

The biggest fear most authors have is that they are scared to discover their writing sucks. No one wants to publish a novel and find out that they are the absolute worst writer that has ever lived. Every Author wants their worlds and characters loved by fans all over the world. No one wants their story savagely criticized by random strangers.

Unfortunately, this is a part of the author’s journey.

The sooner you learn to embrace that you might not be a very good writer, the sooner you’ll learn how to become a great author.

Yes, publishing your first novel will most likely be terrible. If you’ve never written for media, had a mentor coach you, and your first published work is a novel you’ve been spent years writing, then yes it will probably suck.

I know, that’s not what you want to hear but it’s true. The time you’ve spent working on this one novel is time you could have spent experimenting with other stories, ideas, and writing styles.

As I said before, no matter how many times you revise and edit your draft, it is never -ever- going to be as good as you hope it will be. The only way to improve is to release the book, let the critics bash you, learn from the reviews, and write some more. Let time pass then re-read your first novel with eyes that have aged with experience. Learn new techniques, find a mentor, and keep practicing until you hit the next milestone.

You don’t have to write every day, but you do have to write often.

And when you write, you should have learned something new about your writing. You should be able to look at your work with a critical eye and begin to spot the flaws: An idea disconnected from the main theme, a repetitive sentence, a sentence overwrought with description. A scene that does nothing to advance the plot but was fun to write. Cut it or rewrite the story to make it work.

Look at your sentences. Are they lazy or punchy?

“He drunkenly stumbled through the door.”

Versus.

“He stumbled through the door with the smell of alcohol on his breath.”

You will learn this through doing and studying. You could watch a million hours of writing advice on Youtube and never improve until you’ve put what you’ve watched into practice.

Wrap up

I want you to think about your favorite authors. Once you have an author in mind I want you to ask yourself a question. Would this author still be successful if they had only written and published one book? Has this author ever written a book you didn’t like? Did you still keep reading their books even though they’ve written some stinkers?

Was Stephen King successful because he only wrote Carrie or because he wrote hundreds of books?

Would The Lord of the Rings still have been successful if it was only one book?

Take a look at this list of Stephen King books rated from worst to best. Then read this highlighted quote.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/every-single-stephen-king-book-ranked/

There’s a term for a writer’s early work: juvenilia. This novel was King’s first, and was later published under the Bachman pseudonym. The story of a teenager who murders two teachers and takes a classroom of students hostage, it’s quite simply not very good in comparison to what followed, filled with the sort of overheated writing that young authors often engage in while thinking they’re being provocative. After a rash of shootings at schools, King pulled this book from distribution, and it’s hard to find these days—and not worth chasing down, save out of curiosity or super-fandom.

Jeff Somers, Barnes and Noble.

Did publishing this book end Stephen King’s career? No. Did it make his career? No. Is he considered one of the most successful published authors of all time? Yes.

So write. Write your masterpiece and your disaster. Write your juvenilia and all the books in-between. Take your licks and take your praise because someday it’s you who will have your special day.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

-Zig Ziglar

Have questions about publishing a book? Shoot me an email https://thesilverninja.com/contact


Wilmar Luna

2 Responses to “Top three reasons why you need to publish your crappy novel.”

  1. This is excellent advice. You have to just keep writing and keep writing to really get into a groove. Everyone starts somewhere, and very few publish one novel and make it huge – yes, it happens but it’s beyond rare. 🙂

    • Wilmar Luna says:

      Even those who hit it big with one novel always end up having to write another. I remember I read an article whose first novel was a best seller and then they were disappointed when the income eventually tapered off. They thought being a best seller would set them for life and they would never have to write again but that was obviously far from the truth. The only author (I’m aware of) who pulled off writing one book was Harper Lee, though technically she does have two books to her name. So there’s really no reason for any writer not to publish their work when it’s done.

      Thank you for commenting on the blog!