Make Your Book Reader-Worthy - J. Kenner

Make Your Book Reader-Worthy

Thank goodness Shelly Thacker walks her own path, otherwise she might be a forest ranger instead of a national bestselling author giving us all sorts of fabulous books to read!

 Not sure what I’m talking about? Check out her bio!

As NaNoWriMo wraps up, I’m thrilled to have Shelly guest-blogging today with wonderful insight into the revision process and why it’s so crucial to the quality of your book … and your future sales! Check it out!

Timeless by Shelly Thacker

When I first jumped into the e-publishing world in early 2011, there was a “gold rush” mentality among authors. The ebook bubble would soon burst, everyone said, so you had to move fast if you wanted to get in on the bonanza. Forget about revising your book. You barely had enough time to get the file converted and click that Publish button. Upload now! Quick, before you miss out!

Today, writers have calmed down a bit. The digital bubble hasn’t burst. Kindle, Nook and tablet sales are breaking records worldwide. Ebooks are clearly here to stay. And so, as NaNoWriMo draws to a close for another year, I think this is a good moment to revisit a time-honored question: how much should you revise your book before you publish it?

My answer can be summed up in three words: Take Your Time. The temptation to just dash off a draft and click Publish can feel overwhelming—but it’s no way to launch a successful career.

You need to make your book reader-worthy. And that takes as long as it takes.

Today’s readers are smart, savvy consumers who aren’t shy about voicing their opinions. If they see weak dialogue, lame characterization, sloppy technique, or pointless plot twists they won’t just complain to you about it, they’ll complain to the whole book-buying world. You’ll wake up to find your book plastered with negative reviews. On Amazon. On Barnes & Noble. On Goodreads. On review blogs. Ebooks live forever—and so does bad word-of-mouth.

In this new digital world, authors still build careers the same way they always have: one book, one reader at a time. If you want to become a successful novelist, you need to start building a following right from day one. You need to publish novels that will get people talking, reviewing, blogging, Tweeting, Liking, sharing. Only your best work will take you there.

If you don’t give readers a book that’s worthy of their money, time and attention, someone else will.

So take your time. Revise, edit, then revise some more. Make sure your book will build your career, not kill your career. Your readers deserve the best you can possibly give them, so give them nothing but your best.

Authors, has the digital revolution changed the way you approach revisions?

Shelly Thacker photoThanks again to Shelly for stopping by!

 Shelly’s paranormal and historical romances have won numerous national awards and lavish praise from Publishers Weekly, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Detroit Free Press, and The Oakland Press, who have called her books “innovative,” “addictive,” “erotic” and “powerful.” Her latest release, Timeless, about a stolen bride swept away to a mysterious island paradise, is currently on the Nook paranormal romance and Kindle historical fantasy bestseller lists.

Be sure to connect with Shelly at:
Twitter: @shellythacker


Julie Ortolon

So true, Shelly. And so timely for me as I near the end of the revision process on my next release. For me, typing “The End” on the rough draft is only the beginning of the real work. Best of luck with Timeless! Can’t wait to read it.


I absolutely love the revision process. There’s something about taking a draft apart and putting it back together again to clarify plot, bump up characterization and emotion, enhance dialogue, etc. that gives me a thrill. I remember when I was revising The Givenchy Code, which had a complicated follow-the-clues-plot, how much fun I had pulling chunks out and then revising until it all fit back together. It’s like one of those complicated 3D puzzles!

Kendra Mareva

Very timely advice, since I’m nearing the revision phase of a book I’m considering e-publishing. Thanks, Shelly! I just have to remember to breathe when I start feeling anxious to get it finished already. Because what’s the point in putting it out there if it’s not well done!

Julie, I hear you about the whole puzzle thing. It IS fun, but I’m always scared that once I put it back together again, the story won’t make sense to anyone but me. Ack! :P


LOL! That’s what leaving it sitting all by it’s lonesome for a week or so is for! That final “does it make sense” read :)

Kimberly Llewellyn

So very true. It’s not in the writing, but in the rewriting that can make a story sparkle. After polishing a story, I still have to put it away for while. Then when I come back to it, I’m amazed at the “opportunities” I see to improve the story, from any missed typos to plot changes! Thanks for sharing, Shelly!

Shelly Thacker

So true! Revision is where your diamond-in-the-rough becomes a diamond. It’s actually my favorite part of the process. The blank page still intimidates me (even after all these years!) but revising feels like playtime. So glad this post was helpful. :)


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