When I am fully into the writing process, it will take me somewhere between three and four weeks to complete the first draft. I usually give myself a deadline of four weeks. So the book is done, the hard part is over. WRONGO! You ever see The Grinch with Jim Carrey? Great movie, still my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Every time I go to say wrong, I think of that movie when he says wrongo and I say wrongo instead. Anyways, WRONGO. The hard part is just beginning because as a self-published or indie author, you are running a business. You are running a one employee business and that one employee is you.
The thing is though, you don’t get a break just because there is only you. Just like any other business, there are things that have to be done for the business to succeed and as a self-published author, there is so much more to it than just writing the book. I want to stop here for a moment and let you know that I am not, by any means, complaining about the work load. I LOVE THE WORK LOAD. I love every step of this process and I love having control over every aspect of my business! So, as I explain here, please don’t get confused. I don’t complain. I love the work because it isn’t work. It is what I love. It is what I want for my life.
So once the manuscript is finished, I will begin looking for my team of professionals who are going to help me bring my book to the finish line. First on the list, is generally my cover designer. There are several ways to go about this and I will have another post as some point explaining the different options, but recently I have been using a website called 99designs.com. Essentially, I will throw up a description of what I am sort of looking for along with the title and some example covers that I like. From there, any cover designers on that site can submit designs for my cover. At the end of a certain time period, I choose the winner and make the changes that I want to see to the cover.
Once the cover is handled, it is on to the editing phase. I will take a week or so and go through the manuscript myself first to clean up any minor mistakes like spelling, sentence structure, etc. I am the furthest thing from an editor. I am not great with grammar and I am definitely not good with punctuation although I am constantly trying to get better the more that I write. Once I get the manuscript as polished as I can, I will then get ahold of my editor. Now, I use the same editor for all of my books because she loves the genre that I write in, she has a huge amount of experience, she is top rated and she is fairly priced.
I send the word document to Laurie, yes I write in Microsoft Word and I will never change that as long as Microsoft exists, and she generally needs a week and a half to two weeks to go all the way through it. Some people choose to hire both a content and a line editor. I am lucky in that Laurie will line edit the whole thing word for word and will also offer her opinion, as a thriller reader, on where the story could be changed or tweaked. She has saved me from many a plot hole.
Once she gets it back to me, I will take two or three days to go over her changes, decide which ones I agree with and which ones I don’t, change the things that need changed and take out the stuff I don’t need. Here is where my editing process ends. There is only one more thing to do and that is to hire a formatter. Now, many people do this themselves, but I like to make sure that anything I am not absolutely certain I can do correctly, I hire someone to help me. It is not a contest to see who can spend the most money on their book, it is about making sure it is done right and I just know I am not an expert formatter.
Fiverr.com is a great place to find formatters. There are thousands on there and you choose whichever one you think works best for your project. This part of the process usually takes three to five days, but for me there are almost always changes and adjustments before it is completely ready. Secret pet peeve is the font used for the chapter page. Whether is just be the chapter number or a chapter title. My first book I worked with a young man from Argentina and because of the time difference I didn’t end up having enough time to make changes and got stuck with chapter title pages that I am still not thrilled with.
Once it gets back form the formatter and all the changes have been made, it is good to go. I try to give myself at least a three-day buffer period from the time I get the final document back to the time it launches, just to be extra sure it is ready. I go live on Tuesdays, because historically across all product lines globally, Tuesday is the best day to release any new product. I try to play the odds whenever I can!
I have gotten into a habit of ending my posts with some sort of motivational conclusion and I am enjoying that. There is way too much negativity in our world now and I like to think that someone might read this and it just might make a positive difference in their day. Today, I want to tell you that you can do a little more. I know it may feel like you are doing everything you can and some people may be telling you to take a break. I am telling you to step on the accelerator! Go faster! Work harder! You CAN do whatever it is you are shooting for. Creating something amazing out of nothing IS POSSIBLE, but it takes action. It takes commitment! So commit today. Think a little bit less and act a little bit more. Get out there and make it happen, because you can! I’m in your corner! Let me know in comments what you’re going after in your life!