My decision to pursue going from writer to published author (albeit e-published and not “fronted a boatload of money for the eventual delivery of my fabulous story idea” published) a couple years ago has been an interesting journey for me.
I’ve written all my life. I’ve either authored or been part of a group (ugh, what a bad idea) that has authored many lots of technical papers for work. Specifications, operating instructions, process descriptions, procedures, standards, etc. Along the way, I’ve written short stories, poetry and drafted ideas for full length novels. However, I’ve never actually written a story longer than a few thousand words (well, except for once when I was trying to come up with the best self-evaluation ever).
One of the things I wanted to do when I made my career transition was nurture this spark I thought I had into a bit more of a blaze. I’ve been at it now for almost two years and am finally in the first round of editing my first novel. There has been a tremendous learning curve (and I’m afraid I’m still very low on it) and I’ve looked to friends new and old for inspiration and encouragement to get this far. A small handful of people got me here. As I come down the final stretch that handful has become less active, but they hold no lesser sway on my thoughts.
So I’m thinking now that the story is on paper it’s mostly done, right?
Wrong. Oh. So. Wrong.
How do I edit all, or at least the vast majority, of the spelling, usage and grammatical errors out of my manuscript? Who do I find that will help me do this without pay and, maybe more importantly, without laughing? How do I make sure it’s formatted in such a way that it doesn’t distract from the story itself to simply try to read it?
There are almost 800 new titles and editions published daily in the U.S. alone. How do I get someone to pick mine up and want to read it, let alone pay something for it? That translates to good cover art and a catchy title, for a start. And of course there is the job of publishing. I’ll probably never hold a paper copy of this first book in my hands, but at least the digital age has enabled basically anyone with something to say to be able to get their book published. Then back to the question of how to get someone to pick it up and purchase it and read it. This time the answer is marketing.
So, basically I have to edit, format, get cover art produced, find a catchy title, publish in one or more formats (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, e-Book, etc.) and market until I feel like a repetitious badger.