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Your lifestyle, your quirk
I’m 25,000 words into the first draft of my romantic comedy. I can see some of you raising your eyebrows, but remember, I’ve been writing for a living for quite some time. I can write pretty fast when the time calls for it. The draft needs a lot of work afterward, but that’s the point of the first draft: you get the story down on paper. Or on the computer screen, I guess.
Aside from the brief hiccups I came across in my efforts to get started, the process has been quite smooth. My actual writing process has become fairly uniform over the last few years. I’m estimating my rough draft for this particular story will come in around 42,000 words. Once that’s done, I’ll determine where to expand it, which means adding subplots, beefing up descriptions, and the like. In an ideal world, the story is in good shape after that; I’ll go over it using Holly Lisle’s One-Pass Revision and then implement any changes I come across.
Frankly, the actual writing process itself doesn’t change, whether you’re writing for traditional publication, a small electronic publishing house, or publishing it yourself. The real differences come to light after the book is done, when you’ve made your final pass and have declared it a finished product.
Self-publishers have an important decision to make once they’ve reached this part of the process. Do you upload it to Amazon and see how it fares, or do you bring in the professionals? I’ll go deeper into these subjects when the time comes, but for the purposes of this article, I’m going to discuss hiring people to help you out.
Self-publishing has received a fair amount of smack talk for the seeming lack of editing many manuscripts receive. Some authors don’t care, while others can’t afford an editor’s prices. I am of the belief that you should at least ask a friend with an eye for sentence structure and spelling to take a look at your completed manuscript, as they’ll find the things that you don’t. I’ll be hiring an outside editor to proofread the thing; people may hate my story, but I don’t want them picking apart my spelling.
Do people sell successfully without an editor? They do. Editors in general are getting scarce – you see more and more errors in traditionally published books and in magazines and newspapers, simply because when times get lean, editors are among the first to get axed.
If your book is legible, I strongly suspect 90% of your potential readers will be perfectly happy. The other 10% will rip it to shreds, and thoroughly enjoy doing so – just look at some of the reviews of self-pubbed books on Amazon. Don’t give them any more ammo than they already have – hire someone to proofread that sucker.
Then there’s cover art. A publisher will procure cover art for you, but the indie writer must go it alone. I know a few cover artists and will go with one of them when the time comes. I don’t have a specific look for the cover in mind yet, but I’d like to be able to at least pitch an idea. Right now I’m debating a potential “chick lit” type cover, more cartoon-y than serious. I’m not going for a life-changing novel here.
I’m extremely curious about the writing process, so I’m going to reach out on Twitter and see what other authors have to say about it!