Quality Comes First: IWSG

It’s time for my September contribution to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog. I decided to make a slight variation from this month’s IWSG question, What publishing route did you take and why? Instead I plan to discuss writing as a self-published author.

Be sure to click on the #IWSG icon at the end of my post and check out the responses from dozens of interesting writers.

There are those who believe the advent of self-publishing has given rise to the rampant publishing of books lacking the editing, substance, and quality that has traditionally come from “published” authors. While there may be examples where this is the case, my experience as a self-published author and my familiarity with other self-published authors convinces me this is not the norm.

If book sales are any indication of the quality produced by self-published authors, there are many examples of authors who have broken through the best-selling barrier without the aid of a big publishing company. Here is just one of many articles that makes this case:  https://publishdrive.com/self-publishing-success-stories/

Most self-published authors engage the skills of editors and beta-readers to hone their manuscripts. The complex and detailed process of producing a quality novel is not limited to published writers. I have one personal example that illustrates my point.


Uninvited Visions was my second book and my first and only attempt at a YA fantasy novel. It was about Midwest teens in the 1970s having unexplained premonitions of frightful events. After discovering they were not alone with these powers, they worked together in desperation to stop their deadly images from coming true and to rid themselves of their uninvited visions. Sounds like it might have possibilities, doesn’t it?

I spent over ten months writing the manuscript. Claudia, my wife and editor, tried her best to help make the story work. In the end, it just didn’t measure up to what I had planned, nor did it fit into the genre I had selected to write–suspense/crime novels. At over 300 pages, the book still sits on my laptop’s hard drive with only one proof copy ever printed. At times, I think about revisiting the book, but I have instead moved on to other novels.

While the self-publishing process may have few checks on the quality of the books produced, most writers going this route know that quality counts. Writing, publishing, and marketing your own books has many benefits over traditional publishing, but taking shortcuts on editing and settling on inferior results are not among them. It’s a lesson I spent nearly a year learning.

Many thanks to Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler for hosting this month’s blog hop.  To follow nearly 200 writers participating in this week’s IWSG blog hop, click on the icon below.  You can also follow on twitter @TheIWSG  or #IWSG.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

While you’re here, please check out my new release, At the River’s Edge The unsolved murder of Mayor Hank Richards and rumors of moonshine money buried in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains take center stage in this thriller.

Headsone in Creepy Cemetery with Bridge in background


14 thoughts on “Quality Comes First: IWSG

  1. Wow! Your post today is really exceptional. I love how you mention quality. It is so important and I hadn’t always thought about that aspect early on in writing. Uninvited Visions sounds fantastic. Happy IWSG day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s so much that goes into publishing a novel, and I don’t think people (non-authors) understand that. Sure, there are some indies who flame the “this is not real publishing” stigma, but they’re the minority.

    Great post 🙂


  3. I think it’s a good indicator of your quality as a writer, Donn, that you recognized Uninvited Visions wasn’t up to the standard you wanted to produce (good story or not). Maybe someday, inspiration will strike and the revision to make it work will suddenly become clear. And maybe not. But that’s the fun of it sometimes.

    I’ve seen a lot of clunkers out there from indies, but I’m happy to note that the scale seems to be tipping toward a higher quality product as time goes on. Most likely, those who thought writing a book would be easy and a quick moneymaker ended up sifting themselves out of the picture because readers were not willing to put up with lack of polish. There are enough terrific authors out there that the slackers aren’t given a second chance to make a good impression. I’ve found over the past five years or so that most of my pleasure reading comes from indie authors or small presses, because I don’t tend to enjoy much that’s recommended by celebrities or mainstream media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lynda. I, too, tend to read many Indie authors. I have my favorite established writers, but reading what other Indie authors produce is not only entertaining, it gives me a feel for the quality of the writing that is out there.


  4. Frances Meyer

    I just started The River’s Edge. It is the first of your books I have bought. I understand that you are from Central ILlinois, Christian County. Is that near where you are from? I hope you and your family fared well during the hurricane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading At the River’s Edge. I hope you enjoy it. Yes, I’m originally from Illinois near Peoria. Most of my family still lives there. Lived in NC since 1995 and love it here. We’re up in mountains, a safe distance from the devastating flooding.


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