A guest post from Emily Gatrell:
I recently published my first book (Holy Crap!) On launch day my husband, Jon, took me out for brunch and Bloody Mary’s to celebrate. I couldn’t help but hit re-fresh on Facebook continuously and started receiving private messages, many asking the same question or some version of: “I didn’t know you were writing a book, how did that happen?!?!?”
So, how did I write a book?
A lot of folks have said ‘I’m going to write a book one day!’ in a moment of optimism; but, then never do. I did a long time ago, but for a myriad of reasons, I haven’t written since college. Every time I gave some serious thought to begin writing again, time, family, fear, negativity and many other reasons had thwarted my efforts.
My first action (I made sub-conscientiously) to become a person that wrote a book (I’m not ready to label myself an author yet,) was I switched my content consumption from video to the written word (I turned off the television.) I didn’t do it consciously, it just happened. One day I was watching mind-numbing TV all the time and the next I was an avid reader. I was reading 3-5 books a week and after a couple months, I started thinking about writing again; but, still held back.
Then the oddest thing happened one night—a story started to play out in my head.
I let the mental movie play for several days, gnawing and challenging my negativity and fear. Then it happened, I pulled out my tablet and starting writing in the notes application
ATTENTION: New writers please don’t do that, it is a reformatting nightmare!
The only difference between people who write and people who don’t is just that. You just have to start and keep going. In the middle of the story I was still afraid. What if people don’t like it? Am I wasting my time? Is this good practice or is there something here? I mustered the courage and shared the first couple of chapters with Jon. He really liked them and asked for the next chapter as soon as he was done. When he came upstairs and said, “What do you mean she has a crystal?” I wasn’t so afraid anymore. I didn’t stop until it was done.
So once you decided to write, you need to decide who you are going to share it with first. The first read of the book is an important milestone in the project. If you have a thoughtful first reader and kind enough to really probe and ask questions, then you are one your way to writing a book.
After the first read and seventy thousand plus words written, now what? I used my preferences in books as a guideline. What things do I not like in a book?
Most of the things I don’t like in eBooks are under developed characters, poor grammar, crappy word choice, and typos, so we decided to start with a Development Editor. A development editor helps refine mechanics of the story, challenges content, and mentors an author through the process.
Development editors can be a big choice for an author. I looked at elance, other online freelancer sites, and blogs to find mine, Yvonne Perry. Look until you find the right one, it’s a big deal. The book would not have made it where it is without the development edit. In my case, Yvette was as much a teacher as an editor. Not only did I walk away a better writer, I my fear turned to excitement. I missed writing and I was excited to be doing it again.
Once things were wrapped up in the development process of the manuscript, I brought in two additional copy editors slash first readers. The original draft took eighteen days. Development took eight weeks and copy editing took another week each. I hired a professional for the cover (totally worth it!)
The majority of the rest of the project was administrative and done through online forms—copyright, ISBN numbers, and final formatting for the eBook. Then it was uploaded to Amazon and published, even the final formatting is done via a form at Amazon.
My six steps realizing I could publish a book:
1.Know what you want to write about and immerse yourself in content.
2.Find the confidence one day to write.
3.Decide to share your ideas early with a trusted person.
4.Edit, Edit, Edit—bring in a pro or two.
5.Don’t skimp on creative or format.
6.Be brave and publish.
I’m sure there are things I will learn over the coming weeks from my readers on how I can improve, but I don’t fear feedback now which I think is ultimately how I wrote a book in the end.
If you happen to read my book, let me know what you think.
You can purchase Emily’s book on Amazon via my affiliate link (I get a small commission at no extra cost to you!)