Author, Books, Writing

From the Spark to a Published Work #writingcommunity #indieauthor

When writing is such a natural thing for you, it’s easy to forget that it’s not that way for everyone. A lot of what we do just doesn’t make sense to others. I mean, think about it. We take a single idea, an inkling of inspiration, and turn it into a work of art. We put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and make magic happen.

We’re not only writers, though; we’re also cover designers, editors, publishers, marketers, and the list goes on. When we choose to chase our dream, we choose to wear the many hats of the writing industry. Thankfully, we do make contacts along the way that can help with some of the load. There are some incredible people in our field, and I’m so blessed to call them friends.

With all that being said, I wanted to share my process with you. (Again, *my* process because it may be completely different for someone else.) For those that aren’t in this industry or for those new to this industry. From the original story idea to it being put out into the world, this is my routine…

*The Idea: I’ve gotten ideas from so many places-people watching, movies, dreams, songs, etc. It starts somewhere, and I try to always be prepared with either a notepad or my phone to take down the notes.

*Brainstorming: This step differs from story to story. I’ve had dreams where I see the entire book happen, so I jot down all the important details. I’ve also created outlines, which many writers swear by. This helps lay everything out in the way it plays out in the story. Then, there’s the flying by the seat of my pants avenue, where I sit down at my desk and let the words flow. This might be my favorite method. There’s no better feeling than getting the words down and letting the creativity go wild.

*Revising/Editing: This is the longest stage for me. I blame my OCD. I do countless read-thrus of my book and make necessary changes or updates. This is anything from grammatical and spelling errors to word flow to plot holes. There’s a great deal of time that goes into editing before it ever makes it to the professional.

*Professional Edit: I did my research, wanting someone local. I’m not sure why that was important to me, but it was. Maybe I imagined meeting them for coffee one day to discuss all the great classics. I also wanted someone that wasn’t familiar with me or my writing, like my blog. I needed a completely unbiased person. Anywho, I discovered Rose at Flawless Fiction. We started with a sample editing project, which was my first released short-The Intruder. I absolutely loved the changes she made to it. That’s actually the reason I decided to publish it solely as an e-book. I was so in love with the story that I wanted to share it with anyone and everyone. Rose truly is such a sweetheart and has been so encouraging. I’m blessed to have found her.

*Cover Design: This step can really happen at any point of the writing process. I create my own covers using Canva-one of my favorite tools. I have fun with this part, playing around with colors and fonts and images. I’ve even used my own pictures for covers since photography is another hobby of mine.

*Final Revision: After I get the edits back from Rose, I make all the changes. So far, I’ve never disagreed with the edits. She always makes such reasonable changes and often includes explanations. That part is huge for me. I learn for my next project. I will sometimes include beta readers in this part. This is the final reading of my story. I’m also beyond tired of the story at this point. 

*Formatting: I format my books thru Microsoft word as 6×9, which I believe is one of the standards for books. I don’t do anything fancy; I’m very simple. Times New Roman font at 12pt, and 1.15 line spacing because I don’t like the words to look jumbled. I’m actually still learning what I like in terms of the style and look of my book. But this is my current go to.

*Bonus Info: One of the things I struggled with at first was trying to determine what pages to include thru the book and where to put them. After a lot of research, I realized there are quite a few options, and some of it depends on your personal preference. For me, again, I prefer simplicity. Here are the pages I include, in the order they appear in my book: title page, copyright page, dedication, story text, about the author, other works, any other notes for readers.

*Publishing Prep: I chose to go the self-publishing route, so I would have more control of things. Amazon’s KDP program is amazing. I upload all the details of the story-title, blurb, cover, manuscript-straight to their website. Once everything looks to be in working order, I request a “proof” of the book. I want to see firsthand how it looks before I click the publish button. It’s crucial for the formatting to be correct and for everything to line up like you want. This includes the front and back covers.

*Self-Publish: Once I am happy with my proof, I click that publish button. Then, it takes approximately 72 hours for Amazon to vet the book and deem it ready for publishing. When I receive that notification, telling me my book is LIVE, I get excited.

*Market/Promote: Social media plays the largest role in marketing for me. I feel too new to do book launches or conferences. Maybe one day. For now, I’ll focus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I promote often, but not only that, I promote other writers. We’re all in this together and networking is key to this industry. Make friends. Read and review books. Be genuine. And remember, this isn’t a competition.

That covers it all, I think. Although if you know me, there’s a good chance I forgot something. The bottom line, as you can see, it’s more than just writing. We stay busy in this field and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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