Blog

                       

I Shall Not Be Doomed

 

Just less than a year ago, my first book was published and made available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and various other websites in eBook and print. Just two days ahead of that anniversary, I have finally finished the first draft of the manuscript for the second novel I hope to publish. Two days ago was Thanksgiving, the holiday on which we are urged to reflect on the past and remember what we are thankful for. In spirit of all these events, I have decided to take a few moments and reflect on my previous experience with publishing, and how that will affect my next publication adventure. I was so excited to publish my first book, but looking back there are some things I may have been better off doing differently. As those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it, I am creating a to-do list that I must follow to optimize my next novel’s accessibility and readership. It is the first book in a series, and I want to make sure it is started right. For those of you who have read Immortal Peace, let it be known that I have improved my writing immeasurably, and it will show in my next novel. For those who haven’t read my previous work, I hope you’ll enjoy my latest release when it does come out. Be patient though, as the following to-do list will need to be completed before I will even think of publishing. Lastly, for the fellow writers…may this be a cautious warning to learn vicariously through my experiences, and know how helpful I believe each of these steps will be in my journey as well as yours.

 

1. Edit (more than once)

For Immortal Peace, I went back and edited my work to make sure I had not only grammar and spelling, but comprehension and consistency throughout my book. However, after having made changes for comprehension and clarity, it affected continuity (for an example, keep track of how many firearms Mario has before and after he stops by the gun store). This could have been an easy fix, had I gone back more than once to read through the manuscript. Due to my excitement, I made the choice to move forward with the publication process, and slipped up in some details.

 

2. Beta Readers

I had one beta reader for Immortal Peace, but he only helped up to around chapter 10. At the time, publishing Immortal Peace wasn’t even in consideration. After the fact, I decided to publish without having anyone look at my manuscript. Maybe it was because I only expected my family to read the book when it was done. It was a bittersweet feeling to turn out to be wrong in that regard. For my second book, I will be sure to edit, then have a few people (both friends and objective non-friends) read it and tell me what’s wrong. I even requested the help of the only person who gave me a one-star rating for Immortal Peace thus far. I appreciated her honesty and keen eye for mistakes, and think that could benefit me if I were to have that before putting the manuscript out into the public eye.

 

3. Book Description

It’s not that I didn’t write a book description for Immortal Peace. It’s clearly on the backside of the paperback. However, I could seek out feedback in the future to ensure my book description not only sells the book well, but is also accurate. There is a lot of world building in the coming book series, and it will be a tall order to have a short description depicting everything going on. I will have to edit that to the same degree as the whole manuscript before I begin to…

 

4. …Query Traditional Publishing Companies

With the advent of self-publishing, it is no longer necessary to go through a traditional publishing company to be able to hold a printed book, ISBN and all, with your name on the byline. Yet this efficient shortcut can also lead to some cut corners. Although I wouldn’t mind publishing the next novel myself, I think if I wanted to get it into more readers’ hands it would be best to attempt the “trad pub” route first. Queries to traditional publishing companies couldn’t hurt, as long as I make sure I’m comfortable with the possibility of rejection and strong in my stance to get what I want in a contract (if I get a contract at all). This helps to ensure that I will be writing and publishing under my own rules, regardless of whether it is self-published or not. And who knows…a traditional company may be just what I need to take my writing to the next level.

 

5. Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)

After the book has been edited enough to be publishable, whether traditionally or on my own, advanced reader copies would be the step above beta readers. ARCs are for the finished manuscript, and can be one of the most valuable resources a new author could have. They can provide an honest review of the book, which can help others to get to know your work and legitimize it even before it is available for purchase. Which brings me to my next point:

 

6. Publication date

My impatience pushed the publication date to be as early as possible. To be honest, I heard from a friend that it was available on Amazon after it had already been up for two days! I was not even paying attention to this detail, I was in such haste to publish a novel. My anticipation got the best of me, and it may have been the worst thing that could have happened for my novel. There was no time for the previous steps, such as ARCs, that may have helped to build a hype for my book. I published my book in two weeks when most authors recommend three months.

 

In the end, I have learned that patience is key. As happy and proud as I am to have completed this feat, I know I could have done things better. As my writing improves, so will my handle of the logistics of publication. I just thought I’d share my own experiences, and maybe save someone else from making mistakes of their own.