Since Worthless is the first book of mine getting published, I’ve been asked if it was the most recent or only book I’ve written. Well, if you’ve seen my ‘The Muse or the Mood’ blog post, you’ll know it definitely wasn’t the only book I wrote. Night, it wasn’t even my most recent when Aethon picked it up.
So, let’s talk a bit about how I got to the point I’ll have a book (trilogy) getting published in a few months.
Worthless was kind of the second full book I wrote, after Borrowed Time. I’m saying ‘kind of’ because I’m not counting the 2.5 books I wrote for the 9-book series. Why? Simple – I had no idea what the F* I was doing when I wrote those 2.5 books. They were practice, good practice, and I learned a massive amount about writing, and about how I want to write, but I don’t consider them complete books. Still, that’s around 260,000 words of practice, plus the short stories, before I even really wrote a book.
(We don’t talk about the book of poetry. Why would you even bring that up?)
Borrowed Time practically wrote itself. For three months at the end of 2016 I did nothing but eat, dream, and breathe that book. Overall, I love the concept of it, but man, the first draft was rough. Almost right after a couple of edit passes on it (still rough at that point, if I’m being honest), I moved on and wrote Worthless in 2017. Writing Worthless taught me a lot more about my writing, and I lightly queried it a bit while going back to edit Borrowed Time with what I’d learned.
Did the querying get my anywhere? Heck no. Both of my books (at that point) still weren’t good enough. So, what did I do? I kept writing, learning, editing, then writing some more. Rinse. Repeat. Every time I wrote a new book, I went back to my old ones to improve with what I’d learned.
Before I got picked up by Aethon, I wrote four more books, and after each one, went back and improved different aspects of Worthless. Is it the same book now as it was in 2017? Not really. The story is the same, but how I tell the story has changed quite a bit. Then of course I wrote Broken and Alone after I started talking to Aethon, learning even more about my writing, and editing Worthless even more.
End of the day, I’ve easily read and edited Worthless dozens of times. And, you know what? If I read it again, I guarantee I could find things I want to change / improve.
Maybe I’m the only person who was conceited enough to think my first book was ‘good enough’ after I’d finished it, or maybe I’m not. Either way, looking back now, I know it wasn’t, and I’m honestly kind of glad I didn’t get picked up a few years ago. My writing has gotten a lot better since then, and in turn, so have my stories.
TL;DR – If you’re an author looking for advice – keep writing.
If you’re reading this and have a similar story, share it down in the comments. If you’re just starting out, share that too. Every journey is different, and we can all learn from each other’s stories.