In the midst of writing the story and the excitement of getting it out there, it can be easy to forget about the professionalism of it all. Read: how to present your work in the best light possible.
I take my example from the kitchen. (Shall I compare thy work to a cupcake?)
People that love and care about you: No worries. They will eat the crusty, broken bits of cake that didn’t turn out quite right. It’s fine. “You worked so hard on it, honey and it tastes good anyway.” Right?
Maybe. (Okay, probably. I mean, it’s cake.)
However, for most publishers, new readers, and reviewers it’s a different game. They don’t know you and they may not know your work. So they have no reason to cut you any slack. They don’t want the cupcake that was too close to the heat and got over baked. Or the one with the lopsided frosting.
They want the cake from the bakery.
You stare at it. You want to make one but you’re intimidated. You almost hate to eat it—almost. You try to find fault, but can’t. Maybe it won’t taste as good as it looks.
Ohhhh… It’s even better.
Writing is like that. Presentation is important. Like it or not, judgments are made from the outside in. If the cupcake were a mess, you might not want to eat it. Even if the baker tells you how much time and effort he spent on it and lists all the wonderful ingredients.
You may get a few people to bite. To take a tentative nibble. But you don’t want that for your work in progress. You want to be sure it’s ready for the public’s viewing pleasure. So they will devour it and come back for more.
So take the time to polish and smooth the rough edges before presenting your work. Don’t think, “That’s what an editor is for.” (Believe me, you want to be remembered as the writer that didn’t need much editing. Not the one that did.)
Your reader will want light, fluffy, gorgeously decorated work. Or in some cases, the dark, creepy, frighteningly tantalizing bits of reading pleasure.
So pick up that professional author’s cupcake—I mean, book— and marvel at how perfectly perfect it is. It’s okay to wonder if yours will ever look as good.
‘Cause if you work at it, it will.