Believe it or not, I have actually managed to publish my first novel. As of last Friday (3/28/14) WWIV - In The Beginning is now available in Kindle format at Amazon. Let me tell you, the road has been a long one and wrought with potholes.
I began the journey by writing Chapter One on July 14, 2013. That makes it a eight and a half month process from first words to publishing. However, I had been running through the characters and story line since mid-April of 2013. That stretches it out to eleven months.
Writing seems to be the easy part of the process. Typically, I pump out the first (rough) draft of a manuscript in five or six weeks. This goes quickly, in part, because I let the characters and story ideas play in my mind for months before I begin the actual writing process. With most of the major scenes complete in my head, I am able to start writing and it flows out like warm syrup onto the pages.
Next, I let the manuscript sit for two to four weeks. I try not to think about it at all and I refuse to open it up on my computer and revise anything. After that, I read through it quickly. In the second stage I simply clean up incorrect words and sentences that don't make any sense. This second read through gives me a general idea of the flow of the story. Does the manuscript get across everything I hope it would.
After that it goes to several close family members to see how they like it. I have a lot of readers in my family circle; and the dystopic tales I give them aren't their typical choice of genres. But if the story passes their eyes and gets a "yeah, that was good" rating from them, I move on.
Rewrites and cleaning up follows. Getting rid of every adverb and passive voice I can find, really helps the story take on a better level of literature. From there it goes to the editor for another read. Then more rewrites and a few more beta-readers (this time, outside the family). I especially like to use people who don't typically read in the dystopian genre. If these people like my book, I know I'm getting somewhere.
Finally, my family and I read each and every sentence searching for any remaining misspellings, out of context words, and sentences that make absolutely no sense (typically because of an incorrect word). Here's a trick. Read your novel backwards. Start at the top of the last page and read it out loud. You'll find more errors this way because you are NOT reading the story. You're reading the words and sentences that make up your story.
Near the end I began to format my manuscript, on my own, to post on Amazon's Kindle site. This process was much easier than I had expected and turned out to be a good exercise. There's a few tricks and tips I can tell you, but I'll save that for another post.
So now – it's ready for consumption.
This week I'll begin implementing the marketing for my novel. This activity has been in the planning stage for a number of months, some it's time to take off my writing hat, and put on the promoter's cap.
In the near future I will post a video of myself reading chapter one. Still not sure how much that will help, but I've been told by people who know a lot more than me that it's a good idea.
Until next time, keep reading.
If you'd like to purchase of a copy of my debut novel please click here, or go to Amazon.com and search for WWIV.