October 5th


Photo by Octavio Heredia

For those who’ve purchased a copy of the first (or second) edition of “Under the Same Moon,” you’ve quietly and politely noticed many editing errors. Here’s the thing — I’m not perfect. I’m far from it. So far that I quite obviously jumped the gun (even after 8 years) and published a novel with a lot of hoopla and not enough copy editing. My friends did an excellent job of catching so many other errors before it went to print. I’d read my worn computer paper copy about 10 gazillion times. When I received my first bound copy back as a proof, the type was too small to read thoroughly.

I should have read more thoroughly.

Should have, could have, would have. These are words burdened with regret that simply will not ruin publishing my first novel. Even a novel with errors.

Reading a bad review a couple weeks ago resulted in more than a few tears. I was filled with regret for sharing such a tender and vulnerable piece of my happiness — of who I am — with someone who couldn’t relate. I am so wildly embarrassed.

Reading the good reviews fills my sails; my ego is quickly convinced the next call will be Oprah’s scheduling producer. It’s a bell curve of emotion, with sincere rage and unhappiness at one end and Prom Queen Pulitzer Prize Winner at the other.  I wouldn’t have it be any different — even the sucky part of the wave that holds you under just long enough to sting your brain with salt water before throwing you back on to the hard beach.

I should have paid a professional editor to look at the copy. I could have asked another publisher to take a look at it before going at it alone with self-publishing. I would have loved to have had professional help at any point in this process.

So, that wave has spit me back on the beach — a place where I continue to write, read and research. I’m wearing sunscreen to protect my thin skin,  shades to keep the good reviews from over-saturating the ego, and flip flops as a reminder this is all supposed to be fun.


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Journal, Novel
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17 Responses

  1. Jim Tolar October 5, 2010

    Yeah, I’m not sure which is harder, the writing or the seeing how people react to the writing. I can easily see which is more public. I have another friend who is also a published writer and I forwarded that review to her to ask what *she* does with harsh reviews. Her response was “Painful, but there’s almost always good to take away from criticism. But still, yeah, it’s rough.”

    I think, if you’re a writer, you write. And with luck, or perseverance you get “better” (or perhaps “better received”), but you need to enjoy the process.

  2. Two things, dear Kelli:

    One, yes, live and learn. You’ll go about it differently next time.

    Two, the reason that your friends and readers love you is that you DO put yourself out there and make yourself vulnerable. As a professional writer and editor, I read past any typos and love the book for the story and because you wrote it.

  3. Love the post. It’s an interesting insider perspective to the whole thing. No book ever got only good reviews (even The Bible).

  4. And that is why there are things called, “Second Editions”.

    People love to knock others off their rungs – don’t be phased. You accomplished something most people never will.


  5. It’s a great book, a strong story, the small errors won’t be remembered by those reading the book but the emotions stirred will.

  6. I’ve read many professionally published books with errors. So, don’t beat yourself up over it. I don’t know you personally, but I have read your blog for years and was so genuinely happy for you and your major accomplishment. I admire you for your honesty and vulnerability. Keep it up!

  7. I just finished the book last night (really late, as I couldn’t put it down for the last 50 pages). Wow.
    I’m not blowing smoke up your you-know-what when I say that it’s kind of an honor to own a first edition book with some editing mistakes–just like it’s cool to listen to an album of my favorite band before they had a record contract or could afford a professional studio.
    I feel like I’ll be able to say I knew you when. . .

  8. Grow from the negative reviews, feel good with the positive ones. Don’t look back, only forward. I am currently reading your book and the errors do not detract from the story. I am enjoying it and need to get my next few chapters read before going to sleep.

  9. atpanda October 5, 2010

    I just finished the last book in the Hunger Games series and I found a typo in it. 🙂

  10. I completely agree with Candace. I don’t remember the typos, I remember the wonderful story line and the love between the characters. Shake it off, yo.

  11. Colleen October 6, 2010

    Are you kidding me???? You wrote and published a novel on your own. Do you know how many people dream about doing something like that? But you did it!!!! You should be proud of yourself. Don’t apologize for anything. People are lame for pointing out stuff like that.


  12. It’s so awesome that you wrote a book and it’s out there for people to buy and read!!

  13. First of all, I was surprised to hear that you got a bad review. If they were basing it on the editing and typography problems, then they were obviously missing the point. The story! You created such an interesting story, and in my mind it could have kept on going for hundreds more pages as we could learn more about each character.

  14. I received my copy yesterday! I’m so excited!!

    I totally understand what you mean, I feel the same way when we put a film out there & it is met with criticism. Makes me want to never show anything to the world again. BUT – the fact that you did this ON YOUR OWN – is awesome! It is an incredible accomplishment that you should be extremely proud of. There will always be ‘haters’ out there but I agree with the above comments. People won’t remember all the small errors…the important thing is that you followed through and DID IT! Congratulations! I am so proud of you!!

  15. I think you should pat yourself on the back and not be hard on yourself at all!

  16. Dearest Kelli;
    I believe it was Oprah that coined the phrase, “when I knew better, I did better”. Life is an experiment as well as an experience. EVERYONE makes small ooops along life’s path, that’s the nature of being human. Don’t beat yourself up, shake off the bad vibes, and learn from the experience. Your next novel will be better edited, and better received just from the experience of doing it again. Remember this? “practice makes perfect”?????
    You are an amazing young woman who is multi-talented and coveted in your community. Just keep on being you!
    Your Moms

  17. I’m almost finished with your book and I have to say that I’m truly loving it! No errors-checking on my part, but this is obvious, not being english my native language……
    The thing that’s more important to me is that you wrote about something you know well and first-hand, and that you care about. This is so clear to me, and your commitment to a cause you feel so deep is so honest and transparent, that oozes out from every word, and it’s spread to your readers. Feeling an emotion while reading it’s all I ask to a book.
    And I guess that the most read and famous writers in the world had their worst moments too, so why ask the perfection to a first novel? You learn from the past, right?