8 April 2019: A Writer’s Lessons from Reading: Lesson Two

Yesterday I finished The Man of my Dreams by Stephanie Aviles.

Here’s the back of book blurb:

Elena Garcia has earned her spurs—she’s given a decade of her life to the Air Force, and now she’s ready for a change. Settling down in the quaint seaside town of Gig Harbor, Washington, she prepares to finally pursue her dream: writing the romances and love stories she wishes she could find for herself.
The last person she expects to run into is Captain Daniel Grant, the cocky pilot personally responsible for Elena’s hellish tour in Kuwait all those years ago. She’s not forgotten what she endured out there and, as the memories rise again, she vows to make Daniel suffer for his crimes.
Daniel can’t blame Elena for her anger—what he did to her was wrong, and he lives with that guilt every day—but she’ll never know the terrible circumstances that pushed him into making that choice. Now, still unable to forget the sexy Latina staff sergeant, he decides to bide his time and rolls with the punches. But with Elena determined to end his career, can he stay in the ring?
The Man of My Dreams is the latest novel from Stephanie Aviles, and is a moving, dramatic, and steamy account of the eternal battle between the head and the heart

Overall, I really enjoyed this read. Actually, I read it in record time. I generally judge a book by how inclined I am to whipl it out and read at stop lights on my commute to/from work. Let’s just say I did a lot of red light reading with this book.

The lesson I learned from this book is that you have to decide what kind of image you want to present to the world. Do you want to present a book that looks like a big name publisher snapped it up to publish … or do you want to look like an indi author out there doing it on her own?

Now, yes, I am an indi author out there doing it on my own, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t strive to present a product that looks like one of the big publishers with mega bucks backing them up produced my novel for public consumption.

The Man of my Dreams has a GREAT story with WONDERFUL characters but fell a little flat on the professional side. I was on page 2 when I decided to see what publisher/editor let this book hit the stands minus the usual polishing one expects.  I was not surprised that, upon closer inspection, it was a self published book. The first clue was the sentence (top of page 2) “Do you have granny panties inside there too?”  

Every author has to make a choice about how they want to style their novel. Pretty much most novels are going to have the above quote written out as “Do you have granny panties inside there, too?” Note the comma before too. Is it a hard and fast rule about said comma before too? I’ve since becoming a writer discovered that the hard and fast rules of my grade school English teacher are a bit more fast and loose than Mrs. Emminheizer let on in 10th grade English class.

This is where you have to decide, do I want to write a book the way I want to write a book? I’m the master of my own writing fate and, damn it, if I don’t like the comma before too, I’m darn well not going to use it. Thankfully, this is America and we’re free to comma where we want to comma and not comma as the mood strikes us. (Funny enough, WordPress spellcheck is trying to change comma to coma.)

However …. Do I want to present my book with the most professional presentation possible? Do I want people to think a cast of thousands tirelessly spent hour after sleepless hour toiling away in some Random House sweat shop crafting my book into a literary masterpiece?

I opt for the latter. Do I sometimes feel as if I’m being strangled by the Chicago Manual of Style? Perhaps, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make in order for my books to be the best version of me they can be.

The Man of my Dreams has quite a few other idiosyncrasies that give it away as being self published, but I still give it a solid 4 stars for story alone.  I also give the author high marks for her cover, though I think she should have put a bit more self promotion on the back cover and inside matter. No author bio, no social media listings, no website. Don’t make be work so hard to find your next book. After all, you’re an awesome writer! Toot your own horn. If you’re in the market for a fun romance check it out.

Because I somehow feel the need to defend this book, I’ll also point out that I found no spelling or other obvious errors beyond a few ones like the ,too one.  Heck, I read Fifty Shades of Gray and found three grammar & spelling errors in it and that book has seen so many editors eyes it’s ridiculous.

-Jennifer

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