Welcome, reader. This is not an advice blog. Sorry about that, if that’s what you came for. You need experience and authority to give meaningful recommendations, and I am keenly aware that this is not where I am in my journey as an author, and that’s ok.
No, this blog is a chronicle of my transformation from hobby writer to publication. I stand on the beach of this amazing adventure, with the unbound collection of papers that is 80% of a manuscript, staring out across the ocean of The Business at the promised land of professional authorship. I’ll be the first to admit that from here, the waves look simultaneously terrifying and thrilling. Three nights ago, I dove deep into an online vortex of advice (from experienced and authoritative people) about writing, publication, and the business side of the literary world. Agents? Query letters? Novel Synopsis? Self-publication? Self-promotion? Beta-readers? Twitter?!? I knew nothing about these things, and came away with three big conclusions:
- I’m not almost done. I am almost ready to begin – As of this writing, I am just over 81,000 words into the rough draft of my novel. I knew, of course, that the finished product would need some editing, and that that process included a lot more than just checking my grammar and spelling. I was already cataloging passages that made less sense as the context around them grew, and was ready for some cuts and rewrites. That said, editing and rewriting to make a polished final product might take me as many hours or longer than it did to create the rough draft.
- Regardless of how I publish, an online presence is key – This introspective self-critic choses to think about publishing in terms of a ‘when,’ not an ‘if.’ Think positively! While there are very different pros and cons to traditional publishing with an agent and a publishing house compared to self-publishing, they share one thing in common – the author has to promote the book. I was disillusioned that if a traditional publisher bought my book, the bulk of the advertising would come from their office. If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of professional authors laughing at my naivete. Furthermore, four days ago, I was not considering self-publishing at all. In my mind, that route was tantamount to giving up, and would undercut my chances of ever seeing my books in real stores. Not so. The times they are a-changing, and many authors have very successful businesses publishing their own work on platforms like Amazon. Welcome, reader, to my online presence.
- Writing must be my job before it’s my job. – I am aware that this is an old adage, but I’ve really internalized it this week. I have been blessed over the course of two years, 8 months of which I spent heavily writing, to get my rough draft to the cusp of completion, but there is so much work yet to come. Work that will take research and practice. Work that will not feel like fun. Steven King famously compared editing your own novel to murdering children. If that doesn’t get you jazzed up and ready for some quality time with the child of your imagination, I don’t know what will!
My sincere hope for this space is twofold. First, and most importantly, that it offers a sense of companionship and encouragement to those who are on a similar journey. You’re not alone, and If I can balance the time it takes to manage a full-time job, family, church, social obligations, and fuel a career transition, so can you. What are you waiting for, reader? You have a voice, and you have a story to tell, one that will enrich the lives of those it resonates with. Second, that it pushes me to hone my craft and track my progress.
If you are a fellow rookie looking for resources from some of those experienced and authoritative people, I found these three to be incredibly informative:
I’m not associated with them in any way, and these sources are sufficiently established to not need a shout-out from a blog like this one. I hope they help you as much as they did me. Happy reading! As I said in the intro, this is not an advice blog. Yet.
Thank you for taking this quest with me. Do you have a book that you are writing or want to write? Is something holding you back? Let me know about it in the comments.