Overheard at a coffee shop two days ago:
Woman to her male companion: “I’ve been thinking about writing a book now that publishing is so easy.”
Male companion: “Yeah, you know, I wouldn’t mind trying that. I’ve had this good story idea for a couple of years. I’m thinking maybe I’ll do something with it and put it out on Kindle. Sure would be nice to quit my day job!”
Woman: “That’s the truth! Some of these, what are they called? E-publishers? I think that’s right … Anyway, they’re making a bundle!”
Fortunately for the sake of this pair, yours truly had to pay her check and leave for an appointment without hearing the rest of this scintillating conversation. As I drove away from the coffee shop, I wondered just how many others “out there” share the couple’s oh-so-misguided belief that publishing a book is both easy and a sure route to fortune. “Fame” hadn’t yet been mentioned before I left, but I’m sure it probably came up 🙂
Lots of people spend lots of time — sometimes even a lifetime — daydreaming about writing “that book.” Nothing wrong with that. America’s greatness was built on hopes and dreams and aspirations. But, for those who’ve only nibbled around the edges of articles written about e-publishing and who haven’t ever discussed the topic with an author, there are some things you should know!
First comes the writing. Your idea may make a great story. It may be original and shiny and new. It may appeal to both men and women, to both young and old. But before your idea becomes a story, you’ve got to get it down on the paper.
Some say that the writing is “the easy part.” First, there’s the story, itself. On average, a novel these days consists of some 60,000 words. Let’s just say that you’re able to pump out 2,000 words a day on your word processor. You do the math. That’s a commitment of thirty days, with no break, in order to achieve your 60K. Piece of cake!
But wait. Let’s not forget that, within your 60K, you need to construct a character … or several, in most cases … with whom a reader can relate on some level. You’ll need to name him or her or them, come up with physical descriptions, figure out his or her history on this planet (perhaps on another planet if your story is sci-fi!), how much of that history is important to your story, and when in your book to reveal that history. Your characters will need to be “fleshed out” — to become people in whom your reader is interested!
Oops. We haven’t mentioned “the plot.” The action is the part that makes your story readable and relate-able and keeps your reader turning the pages of your 60K. Is your plot interesting? Is it believable and logical without “plot holes” — missing pieces to the puzzle?
If it’s a mystery, is it mysterious? If it’s meant to evoke emotion, does it accomplish that? If it’s meant to be humorous, will most readers find humor in it, will they “get it”?
Then, there are those little picky things to examine, the things that make you wish you’d paid more attention to in English class: speling, gramur, and punktchoashun. Have you checked for redundancy? Do you know if you just can’t write a sentence without just using the same word over and over again until you just can’t use it any more?
In order to accomplish all of the steps after you’ve spit out those 60K words, you then must edit and edit again, then edit again! Once you’re done with your editing, you’ll need to find some “Beta readers” — trusted friends (hopefully, there are some writers among them) who will give you honest feedback about your content as well as your speling, gramur, and punktchoashun.
If you haven’t yet thrown in the towel by the time your Beta readers have completed their mission, then it’s time to edit again until you’re sure your manuscript is faultless. Now it’s time to hire an Editor! Yes, you read it right. Any author who wants to publish a top-notch book hires an editor. Sometimes two.
Are you an artist as well as a writer? No?!? You’d better get to work finding a cover artist! Once that manuscript has been professionally edited, you’ll want an attractive cover that will attract prospective readers. Some authors, it’s true, design their own covers. Some are successful and some, sadly, are not.
Ok! Now all you have to do is upload that book to the kind folks at Kindle or at Nook and that’s that. Oh, wait! You haven’t had the book formatted for e-readers? You’d better get that done first!
Finally! Your book is available for download. You can see it on the pages of Amazon.com or on Barnes and Nobles’ web site. Wow! How many do you think you’re going to sell today? That depends upon how well you’ve marketed your book….
Marketed? Me?!?! Yes, you, Mr. or Ms. Prospective Author. “To market, to market” you must go. Book signings. Book fairs. Blog tours. Blog posts. Interviews of all kinds, both in-person and on the internet. Pre-publication. Post-publication. Continually. YOU must market that book!
You’re looking a bit chagrined. Have I said something that surprised or upset you? Gosh, I didn’t mean to, really I didn’t! As a matter of fact, I left out a bunch of stuff. I just wanted you to get “the big picture”: Writing and Publishing an E-Book is NOT EASY!!
Oops. I think I left a word out of the title 😉