Saturday, 17 November 2012

An Introduction



So, this is it, my first foray into the world of blogging, PR, networking, and getting my book into the public eye. You’d think I’d be a bit more prepared, but I’m really not. All of this is very new and very strange—a strange, new journey.

This blog, in short, will mostly be me talking about my writing, things that I’ve read, and the processes through which I write. There will be general updates on books, short stories, and whatever else I’m working on sprinkled in. If I find a good contest out there on the internets I’ll give it a link here too.

This first post will be a bit different from the norm, I fear. I’ll be talking about the process of getting a story published, or e-published in my case. It’ll be all about the nuts and bolts and gears and wizzy clockwork bits that most people don’t get to see when they pick up a finished book.

First comes the writing process, which I’ll be glossing over a wee bit lest it consumes one hundred pages of blog space. I’m sure most people have tried, at one point or another, to write a novel. Either an English teacher in high-school had you work on a short story, or you had a thought, grabbed a pen, and sat down to write the next Ulysses. The problem that most people seem to have is working past that initial thought. Therein lies the work part of writing the story—turning that one little spark of an idea into a world filled with living places and people. There’s a substantial amount of effort involved with creating a place where your story can fully expand. Sometimes you need to go back to the start, flesh things out, swap around character, change their personalities, or even kill them off before they even start. I will be getting more into depth about my own personal writing process in my next post, and you can expect no less than six different metaphors and similes regarding writing, forges, hammers, and ideas.

So you’ve forged your way through and written a book. It’s sitting right there in front of you in all of its splendor. Great, let’s edit. Editing seems to take just as long, if not longer than the actual writing did in the first place. You’ll go over your book at least twice before doing anything else, and each time find sections where you say “What was I thinking? That makes no sense at all.” Did I say twice? Because this will happen every time you go back over your writing, every, single, time.

Next you send it out to a couple friends—people you can trust to give you solid feedback. It’ll be gone for a few weeks while they muddle through everything, and generally, if they did their job right, you’ll get things back marked to bits with red pen. There will be plot errors, strange character actions, more typos (thought you’d caught them all, didn’t you?), and parts that are just a bit too dull. You’ll go through the manuscript again, fixing, tweaking, and polishing that bad-boy up. Once it’s in fit and fighting form, you might send it out again to another round of trustworthy friends, or you can have someone copy-edit the work for you. Copy-editing is the process through which you will pay someone to tear your book to shreds in every conceivable manner—but everything will be for the better when the experience is over. Your perfect book will be once more covered in red pen pointing out every new typo, plot hole, grammar issue, and section of text that either needs to be removed or completely redone. You’ll want to argue, but realize soon enough that they are right, and these things do need to be fixed. But hey, look on the bright side, you’ve done it, you have a complete book.

There are two paths you may now venture down at this point. The first is the route of traditional publishing, with agents, queries, more editors, and large publishing houses. I may go over the pros and cons of traditional publishing at some point in my blogging journey, but not today. The other is the route of e-publishing. E-publishing is a relatively young option for the author to take. There are no agents, no crazy-big contracts to deal with, and no publishing houses—you do everything on your own. The cut of the sales is much, much higher, but you’ll be doing everyone’s job, including your own. The first step, which is where I am today, is to get yourself out there. You need to blog, tweet, Facebook, hang out on Goodreads, constantly socialize, and network, network, network. If people don’t know about you, how will they ever find your book? Word of mouth is great, but sometimes you need to put on a sparkly hat and jump around shouting “Look at me!”

There are many outlets through which an author can e-publish online, Amazon, Smashwords, the Apple store, Barnes & Noble—most of which can be accessed through Smashwords (simplicity is always best). The sites all have fairly standard guidelines through which they want the content submitted, and do a very good job holding your hand through the process. I will be uploading my own work within the next week or so to the ocean of information and books that is the internet, there will be a notice and links to buy it from here, fret not.

And I believe that concludes my very first background/intro/this is what it takes to make a book a book, post. Like, follow, and tell your friends all about this new but soon to be grand place. There will be new content every few days, check back to see what I’ve written.

-Trevor

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