If you haven’t got one, make sure you get one – soon. A writing buddy can be the difference between giving up when the going gets rough and sticking with your writing project when it occurs to you that your work isn’t nearly as good as what you’d like to publish. I think writing buddies are especially important when you’re self-publishing. Somewhere between your biggest fan and legacy publishing’s literary agent, a writing buddy can give honest feedback about what you’re working on, opinions on covers and promotion, help you to see some of the errors in your storyline (like making a character a single child in Chapter 1 and having her refer to her brother in Chapter 10) and just give you encouragement when you need it.
Self-publishing can be a rather lonely process – you write your book, you get a cover, you put it on Amazon or wherever and hey presto, you’re an author. One of the few advantages that legacy publishing offers over self-publishing is the amount of review a project will receive before it hits the market. Agents and editors circulate pre-publication copies of book to reviewers all the time, and they themselves would have reviewed an author’s work with a critical eye before publication. The chances of publishing with a multitude of typos, errors in characterisation or a storyline that nobody really wants to hear are therefore little to zero. With self-publishing, the chances are a lot higher. A writing buddy can help to fill that gap.
What a writing buddy should never be is an editor. Editing is best left to an editorial service if you’d like to publish work that is credible. Many reviewers are put off by work that’s full of grammatical errors and mistakes, so invest in your project and hire an editor when it’s done. What you’re after in a buddy is someone who’s prepared to give you an honest opinion pre-publication, and who won’t just tell you that everything’s fab to spare your feelings. Your mom would therefore probably not be a good choice.
Got a buddy?