"Am I ready to indie publish?"
I've gotten that question from a number of newbie writers in both of my guises. Lots of folks are skipping the trad submission merry-go-round. Good for them! But that doesn't mean craft goes out the window.
Frankly, my answer for each person would be "It depends." So here's some thoughts on the matter:
1) Is your story coherent?
Seriously, does it have a beginning, a middle, and an end? Does the narrative flow seamlessly from section to the next? Unless you're writing some experimental, existential bullshit, your story needs to make sense to the average reader.
2) Are your details consistent?
Does the hero's name change from John Doe to Steve Smith for no apparent reason? Do the heroine's eyes change from hazel to blue without contacts? If it's Tuesday and the hero and heroine make a date to meet in three days, why are they meeting on Sunday? Those little logic traps can jerk a reader out of a story. Readers don't like being jerked.
3) Is your grammar, punctuation and spelling solid?
See what I did in this question? I left out the fucking Oxford comma. I hate the fucking Oxford comma. That's a matter of style preference. But if you think "punctuation" should be spelled p-u-n-k-c-h-u-a-s-h-u-n, then you might want to got through your manuscript again.
4) This is a marathon; not a sprint.
Don't let yourself get into a rush. Don't skip steps unless you are consciously doing it for a particular reason. The rush thing is U.S. corporate mentality which was hammered into us in public schools or through assimilation in cubicles. No one's going to take indie publishing away from you. Put out the best product you can.
5) Don't let fear slow you down.
This is the opposite of #4 above. If you are obsessing over the first three to the point you WON'T publish your work, perfectionism has taken over your brain. It's a form of fear. Fear of being judged. (You will be anyway.) Fear of being ridiculed (Yeah, that will probably happen, too.) Fear of putting a little piece of your soul out into the world. But guess what? There's going to be more people who like your story and encourage you, and that's much more important.
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