Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Writing; it’s a work in progress

In this blog, I thought I would go from speaking about medieval life, and talk about writing.

I am fascinated about the process of writing, from when an author pens his first words to the book coming out on the shelves or available for download. Many blogs and author’s websites recommend how to write, or how to get published, but very few describe the procedure it takes to get the book published. Let’s go on that journey together.

You Finished Your Book; Congratulations on that, it can be a long process to get your book finally completed; however, you are not done yet, and far from it.

Once your book is completed, it needs refinement. Many authors think their book is perfect when they get it done, but the truth is, you can go over it a million times and still find something that could be changed.

Read it: The first step you should do is read it over once and make sure it makes sense. It could have been a long time (even years) from the time you started until you finished your book. Did you copy and paste one section to another? Had you changed a character’s name or color of hair or weight, and then tried to change it throughout the novel? Any changes you had done previously may not have made it throughout the book. You have to read the entire novel over and over to see if the plot still makes sense and that there is continuity throughout.

Editing: You need to make sure your book if free of misspellings and grammatical errors. I will admit I am not the best at grammar, but that is why there are people and software that do this for me.

Hiring an editor or buying software to check spelling and grammar can be a valuable asset to the author. As with everything you invest in, please research it; see comments further down.

Publishing Decision: So you have the novel completed and edited for errors, how will it reach your audience? This is a complex decision that an author has to make. Will you go the traditional publisher or will you self-publish? Will it be an e-book or paperback or hardcover, or all three?

This could be the biggest decision as an author you could make. Each format of getting the book out has its advantages and disadvantages. As with everything in life, do some research before you commit to one format or the other.

Traditional Publishing: Let’s say you have decided to go with a traditional publisher. This is not an easy path, but it can be rewarding for newer authors. Finding the right publisher can help groom you as an author, helping you with promotions and marketing. Picking the wrong publisher and you will sell fewer books and receive less % of the royalties or even lose more.

Self-Publishing: The advantage of this is as an author, you are also the publisher and completely in control of your product. The downside is and an author you are also the publisher and completely in control of your product. I know I repeated myself, but that is the point.

As a self-published author, you get more % of the profits of your book. You also have to do all the promotion and marketing of it. You can always hire someone to help you sell your book, but then this means less profit from your book.

Consider this, if you pay for an editor, next the book to be published, afterwards a person to help promote your book, you just paid for everything that a traditional publisher does. Always weigh the cost and the benefits when making this decision.

If you decide to do it on your own, there are tons of research you must do to become successful. We are writers, and marketing is a trade all by itself. Now you must combine experiences of these two trades to do it yourself.

Research: If there is anything that you learn from this blog, it should be this, RESEARCH. I have heard so many nightmares from authors who have paid money for getting their book published. These are mostly first-time authors that had no idea, there were sharks swimming in the publishing waters. These authors get taken advantage of these sharks and lose more money that they will ever make on their books.

There is a shark repellant for them, and it is research. There are wonderful sites out there dedicated to reviews of companies who deal in the writing business. I would start out with groups like Predators and Editors, Absolute Write Water Cooler and Writers Beware. There are many more, but I list these as a starting point.

Furthermore, find out from authors who used these services from these companies. A former or current client should be honest enough to tell you if they like them or not. A company, who refuses to release names of clients, might have something to hide, and I would be wary of them.

This is the end of part one. Feel free to comment or just leave a message for me, I would love to hear from my readers.

Next Time: Part Two

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