Following on from my recent post about how and why I self-published my first novel back in 2004, I would like to go over the main lessons that I learned during that process.
Firstly, I would like to think that I have a good eye for a story and have very little trouble with the mechanics of sitting down and being disciplined to write every day, or nearly every day. I set myself targets and maintain good records of what I write each day. It act as a driver to continue and the deeper I get into the story, the easier it is for the creativity to flow. It helps that I am a visual person so I can see what I am writing as though I am watching a film.
My books can get quite long, although in the genre(s) I write in. I think it is necessary to allow the story to develop and grow without being laboured and padded. But, just as importantly, I do know when to stop and the book is “finished” as a first draft.
The biggest thing I learned is that I cannot successfully proof read my own writing. That is my biggest lesson and the biggest mistake I made with my first novel. I did get it proof read by someone else. That was wrong and I will never let that happen again.
The field of self-publishing remains an ever growing one and there are still plenty of vanity publishers out there who will take your money and run, so be diligent. Ask for references from others, do your background checking and research. As a rule of thumb, if you see a company advertising to publish your book, just make sure you know what you are getting in to. There are good assisted self-publishers out there but there are also a host of thieves and crooks ready to take your money and scarper.
It is quite possible nowadays to do it all yourself like I did back in 2004. It doesn’t take that much to work out page sizes, margins and so on and with a bit of research and some well-structured questions to book printers, the mechanics of physically preparing a book for a printing company can be straight forward if you are organised and determined. Let’s face it, if I can do it on a standard laptop, most people with an eye for what they want can do it as well. It is not as difficult as it may appear.
I would certainly do it again myself if I felt it was the best way and if I had the funds to invest in my book.
Since 2004 my writing has come on at a pace and I find that I can write prolifically. I have 4 novels in various stages of readiness, all at least beyond second draft and most well past 6th draft. I have also published The Handbook Of TOP TIPS To Manage Your Writing, a great guide to keeping tabs on the writing process from initial creative idea to editing, proof reading, submissions, synopses and record keeping. Now available on Kindle and Amazon as a paperback.
The book also uses my own experience as a writer, former geologist and blogger in bringing together the essential things a writer needs to do to keep control of their writing.
Writing is one of the main things that drives me and makes me want to write more. I have so many ideas for other books they are queuing up like a traffic jam desperate to get let out onto the page.
Keep writing, for you know you have to….