You’ve thought about it for some time now. Mulled it over from time to time contemplating whether you will be able to finish and if you will even like doing it. I know what you have gone or are going through. It is a serious decision to make. I’ve been there. Walked the talk and did the work. It is not easy and sometimes it is not fun but it is a very rewarding and surprising journey. Ha, and you thought I was talking about publishing right? Well, I’m not. I’m talking about creative and non-creative writing whether it be fiction, non-fiction, biographical, historical or self-help it doesn’t matter the process we as writers go through it is fundamentally the same.
The first step in a journey of thousands is perhaps that one moment in time when you made the decision to sit down, stare at your computer screen for a little while, open word and begin to write. If you are like me you probably got up and went to get a drink still trying to decide if this was something you really, really want to do. You see, I love reading but I was never inspired to write a book especially alternate historical science fiction until the fall of 2010 after watching my favorite television series and reading a very compelling science fiction book. It was then that I decided to write my own story. Not my autobiography that is way too boring but instead a historical science fiction series.
So…I jumped off the imaginary cliff and started writing and writing and writing. I found myself getting lost in my imagination and I loved it. I discovered a passion that ignited a fire storm of story telling I never knew I had. Have you ever felt that way? If you have then welcome to the life of a writer. Why am I divulging this? Because on my journey to this craft/career/business I have discovered it is a fascinating, exciting, challenging, and creative one but it is splattered with the blood, sweat and tears of frustration, confusion and fear. My hope is that through these articles you will save yourself from the mistakes I and many others have made and prosper in your decision to become a writer.
To self-publish or use a publishing company?
That is the question we will address in this issue of today’s blog.
I have authored one book so far and written two manuscripts. I am at that fork in the road regarding the above question. I have to date invested $23,000 dollars to get my first self-published book. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight I certainly would do some things different. I chose a reasonably well established publishing company that seemed to provide publisher services at a reasonable price. Overall the experience turned out fine however due to my lack of knowledge and experience there were processes that I was unaware of and/or unfamiliar with and procedures that became limiting and burdensome.
I will share the process I went through with the self-publishing company I used and what I think the process should be also I will outline the possible procedures you will encounter with publishing companies.
First, you need to have a well-developed manuscript. That is a must. A self-publishing company will only allow a certain amount of revisions with the editor. If you go over the allotted amount you will pay and it can become very expensive. If you submit a transcript to a publisher’s agent that is not properly outlined or edited it will get thrown in the garbage, guaranteed. I use two programs, scrivener and grammerly to reduce the probability of the publisher throwing my mansuscript out. By using the two together they help to make sure I have the right formatting and structure for my manuscript and provide excellent line editing assistance. If you do not have these programs I recommend for your own mental and emotional stability to purchase them a-s-a-p. Additionally some reading to follow-up on is a book titled Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham it is superb in educating you on bringing out the creative writing skills you need to help the reader explore the world and characters you desire to share in an acceptable and easily understood format. I highly recommend it. Another fantastic book is one written by the master himself titled On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. Mr. King divulges the intimate process he goes through in writing his novels and the do’s and don’t of the craft. It is very informative and helpful. I cannot stress enough the importance of utilizing the experience, knowledge and processes accomplished authors use.
Second, join some online associations that cater to authors. These associations will assist you in beta and review reading as-well-as developmental editing of your novel before you send it to a professional editor. There are excellent groups within Facebook, GoRead, Goodreads and Inkitt. I use those sites personally and I have found them to be very helpful. Let’s face it there is only so much your family and friends can do to help you with your developmental, beta and review requirements for your fiction or non-fiction novel.
I know, you are probably asking yourself what is developmental editing and beta reading? I’ll answer that question and the importance of reviews in the next article. I look forward to seeing you there.