The Writing Process: From Idea to Execution

As you all wait in anticipation for the release of book two in the Anistemi series, I am feverishly working to meet your expectations. Sometimes between books, it’s easy to forget how much goes into publishing a book.

While I hope to have more definite news for you on the release of Journey of the Forgotten (like a cover reveal or release date) very soon, I thought I’d take a moment to give you a glimpse into the whole process. So, what does the book publishing process involve?

Creating that First Draft

Of course, the first step is to create a first draft of the book. (I promise I’m already past this point with book two). This is the part of the process that involves getting those ideas out of your mind and down on to paper.

If you’ve ever written a book, you’ll be with me when I say that first draft will be as close to rubbish as any “completed” project can be. Despite this fact, and the pain involved with that fact, this is still a requirement.

There are many ways to complete the first draft step.

·         Some authors (though very few) just start writing with no clear plan in mind. They basically let the story carry them along.

·         Some authors will create a complete outline of the plot. They know what they want to happen, and they work the story around this.

·         Some authors take the time to develop their characters to create the story around. They know what growth they want to create in these characters, and they create the story based on this needed growth.

Of course, there are other methods, but most methods revolve around these three. Once the author has the outline, or lack thereof, they trudge along, full force, to get those ideas on paper.

The First Round of Edits

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Remember I said the first draft is awful? Well, that’s why someone somewhere created the editing process.

This isn’t the editing you’re thinking of. The first round of edits has nothing, or almost nothing, to do with grammar and spelling. The first round of edits is about getting rid of unnecessary parts of the story, elaborating on other parts, and filling in plot holes.

This is also the part where many authors can get defensive. While you may realize something has to go, it’s hard to delete or change something you’ve put so much time into. It is a necessary evil though.

If you ever decide to write a book, just know that you will have to edit that first draft. I don’t care how long you’ve been writing, there will be plot holes, or incomplete characters, or other missing details. There will also be plenty of unnecessary stuff in that first draft.

“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” – Stephen King

And, just like Mr. King says, you have to be willing to kill your darlings. Don’t get too attached to pieces of your first draft. There’s a good chance you’ll have to throw those things out.

Official Editing

Once you have a complete story that’s no longer rubbish, it’s time to get an outsider to do edits on your story. While it may be tempting to edit your own work, don’t!

You’ve been looking at this story for a while now. You will miss things if you try to do all the edits yourself. You need someone to go through and look for grammar and spelling mistakes you’ve missed. You also need someone to check for any structural problems that have slipped past you.

You also need someone who will be completely honest with you. It’s better to get someone who won’t be upset about hurting your feelings.

Creating Your Synopsis and Description

Before you can start promoting your book, you need to be able to give a quick concept of the book to possible readers. To really get people interested in reading your book, they need to have an idea of what the book is about.

This description needs to be easy to read. It needs to give a good idea of the story without bogging people down with too much detail. This step really involves two different descriptions.

First, you need a one-to-two sentence description. Example: Children of the Forgotten is a thoughtful and poignant post-apocalyptic tale that fans of TV’s “The 100″ would appreciate. (from Kerry Nietz)

This type of description gives the reader something to compare the book to. It gives them a point of reference to know if they will be interested.

The second part of this is a quick synopsis of the plot. For example:

In a post-apocalyptic world, most people by age thirty have succumbed to The Sickness, a mysterious deadly illness. But the Sickness is not the only enemy for Collin Mann’s city. Hordes of deranged killers live in the hills around it. With few trained protectors, the future of the little city looks bleak.

Collin, fifteen years old, buries those the Sickness consumes. Slight and awkward, he shuns warrior training, avoiding the example of his big brother and guardian.

When killers attack at the watering hole, he’s called to step forward and defend. Instead, he freezes.

He’s ashamed. His people need him to fight. Can he do it? Or would a clumsy person like himself make any difference in the battle for existence?

This gives the reader an idea of what to expect without giving away too much.

Beta-Readers and Advanced Reviews

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Once you have a “completed” product, it’s time to release it to part of the public. You need to get real feedback about the story. This step can also be done before the official last edits, but it may be better to wait until you have a polished book.

This is a two-step process. If possible, you want to get your book into the hands of already published authors and/or book reviewers. The feedback these people give you will be part of your promotional materials. If you’re an unknown author, these reviews from experts in the field are your best friend to getting your book noticed in the public eye.

The other step is getting feedback from your target audience. Give a select group of people out of your target audience an advanced copy to give you feedback. Most importantly, listen to the feedback you receive.

Throughout the writing and editing process, important things can slip through unnoticed. Your advanced readers can help you catch these mistakes before going into the final publishing process. These advanced readers can also help you create hype around your book.

The beta-readers, if they really enjoy the book, will likely share their excitement with friends, family, and social contacts. Once again, this is important in promoting a book.

Putting Together Final Details

Throughout the process of editing, getting reviews, and extra edits after you get feedback on advanced copies, you will be putting together all those extra details before publishing. This includes author bios and pictures.

This also includes the cover. While it’s possible to create your own book cover, you’ll get a better-quality cover if you hire someone that really knows what they’re doing.

This is the time to make sure you have all those little pieces of the puzzle in place. Do you have a dedication? Do you have some good reviews? Do you have the copyright taken care of?

This is also the time to get an ISBN or any other little details to show the legitimacy of your book.

The Actual Publishing

Once everything is in order and put together, it’s time to officially publish the book. This can be done through a publishing company, or you can do self-publishing. There are pros and cons to both.

This is the time to decide if you’ll publish print, e-Book, or both. There will be instructions in place for whatever publishing choice you decide. If you’re publishing through a company, they will likely take care of all the details here. If you’re self-publishing, you’ll have to decide what you’ll use to do so.

Marketing the Book

Of course, the final step in the process is marketing the book. This is where the social shares, blog interviews, book signings, etc. come into place. For this step you have to make yourself comfortable with the idea of selling people on you.

If you want to publish a book, get used to the concept of talking about yourself right now. You have to show people why they should care about your story. Part of this means showing them why they should care about you.

A Final Thought

Please understand, this is an extremely condensed version of the publishing process. I would have to write a whole book to give you the process in detail. Then you’d be mad at me that I was focusing on that instead of the Anestimi series.

I just wanted you to see why the process can seem longer than you expect. That being said, we are getting closer with the release of the second book. Stay tuned for more details!

If you have any questions about the process, let me know in the comments. I will do my best to answer any questions you have.