The Unsuitable Santa

2009-09-09UnsuitableSantaJan Miles

Virginia's manuscript assessment of my two books has been a wonderful assistance to me in finding my way as a writer. While I'm relatively bullet proof in my normal work environment, any criticism of my writing is a whole other matter - I really, really care, in an I'm six again kind of way! Friends who promised me they had an eagle eye handed the manuscript back with one or two spelling corrections and a strange expression, like I had stepped in dog droppings and no-one was telling me. Sending the first manuscript to Virginia was terrifying.

If only I had known! Virginia's assessment was pages long; overall comments at the beginning, then lots of encouragement, then a page by page break-down of lapses in style or logic or both or just delight at the funny bits, suggestions for improvements and then more lashings of encouragement. In between books I attended one of Virginia's workshops in Melbourne and came away with a sense of I can do this. The assessment of the second book was even more encouraging.

The first book hasn't moved on - it was kinder to leave it unfinished. Maybe one day it will be sold on e-bay as an early unfinished work. The second is now in print, and I published it myself. I elected to go this way because the websites of the various publishers terrified me. Don't even think of taking up our valuable time if you only have one book in you! We're only interested in people who can write a series of books, someone we can invest in. Well heck, this one took me three years. It's got a Christmas theme and I've already missed three Christmases. I don't need any more pressure!

There's lots of advice on the internet to people who want to self-publish. The publishing part is easy - step up to the counter with your credit card. What they don't tell you is how to self-sell. My version is this: guess what you're getting for Christmas this year!

However, if you want to go down this path, I do recommend Seaview Press.

Good luck!

Jan