I spent part of the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day preparing the three books of my Perry Sachs novels for e-books. Perry Sachs is a unique engineer who travels the world building secret government structures. In his spare time, he undertakes impossible adventures in unusual places. He and his team encounter mystery and danger and still manage to keep a decent sense of humor.
To make the books available as e-books required a little touch up work. As I worked my way through the three novels fixing this and that so they would be in the correct format for Kindle, Nook, Smashwords (which puts them on iBooks, Sony, Kobo, and others as well as selling the works on their own site, I began--as I often do--talking to myself. “Hmm, I shouldn’t have used so many attributions.” “I could have tightened that sentence more.” “I know longer use that phrase.”
You get the idea. I was self-editing books that had already been through several edits. Turns out, when it comes to my work, I’m a constant malcontent. Granted, the books were written over a span of three years starting in 2004 and I’ve a learned one or two things since then. That’s the point. Writers are constantly trying to be better writers.
That’s all well and good, but professional writers have a problem: they have to publish to get paid. Unfair, I know, but such is life in this fallen universe. There is a story authors like to tell about how C.S. Lewis had to prod J.R.R. Tolkien to stop fussing with his manuscript and send it to the publisher. There comes a time to let our work loose in the wild to make its own way. There are, after all, more books, articles, essays, and the like to write.
So, I took a hands-off approach. I reminded myself the book got a good edit before. Sure my writing “values” changed but they weren’t wrong before, just different.
Yes, Virginia, it is possible to suffocate your work. The two harshest realities new writers confront is: 1) Writing is a business; 2) There is no such thing as a perfect work.
When my children were little, I took them to the park to help them learn to ride a two-wheeler. I held the back of the bike’s seat and jogged alongside. Then the moment came. I had to let go. Man, that was difficult. I knew, just knew, that the front wheel would go off course throwing my child to the hard concrete, Or, the bike would become possessed and speed onto the busy street (Hey, I’m a suspense writer. This stuff goes on in my head all the time.)
I learned to let go and watched my kids peddle off without me. It wasn’t easy. The same can be said of writers and their work.
Of course, the flip side--not caring if the work is any good or not--is worse, but most writers don’t suffer from overconfidence.
Okay, this is where I turn this blog post into an advertisement: The Perry Sachs trilogy is now available through most online retailers (a few take longer to process things).
A Treasure Deep
Treasure-unbelievable, historic, and dangerous-awaits famed engineer Perry Sachs. Buried just outside Tejon, California, the ancient booty is rigged with enough booby traps to send would-be fortune hunters into early retirement--or the grave. But Perry is no mere fortune hunter. He and his team of workers tackle the task with vision and faith while avoiding the increasingly desperate attacks of a modern-day murderer. What is buried in the California soil? Something that will change the world and could cost Perry his life.
Beneath the Ice
At the bottom of the world lies a secret: a mysterious object buried three miles beneath the Antarctic ice. Famed engineer Perry Sachs and his crew are assigned an impossible excavating job in the middle of the polar winter. Facing subzero temperatures, shifting ice, and the opposition of men determined to erase all knowledge of the expedition, Sachs and his team go where no human has gone before. There, they discover an enigma-one that may change the way the world looks at life. . .and faith. Author Alton Gansky presents a fast-moving, smart suspense thriller that's a perfect follow-up to A Treasure Deep.
When Perry Sachs, engineer, takes a team to Antarctica, he discovers secrets lurking beneath the ice, he is unaware of its full impact or of the forces intent upon reaching it. Finds an artifact hidden for thousands of years.
While Henry Sachs lies in a hospital bed, dying from a mysterious illness, Perry must uncover the secrets of his father's past to try to save his life. Perry believes that Henry's condition stems from a time when he worked to investigate a secret underground base not built by the U.S. After a year of research yielded almost no information, a drastic decision was made: To prevent the base's unknown builders from ever returning a dam was built, flooding the area. What holds Henry Sachs in its grip? Can Perry face his toughest excavation yet--and find out before it's too late?