And at the same time, my journey is only just beginning.
Although there is a new site, the blog is the same, and for those of you that have been reading, you know how far this journey has taken me, for those of you that haven’t, let me show you.
Since I began editing Exiled, I’ve learned so much. My craft has improved beyond belief and I’ve discovered I love writing even more than I imagined.
In the next two weeks I’ll have my hands on a full edited copy of Exiled. I’m going to load it on the iPad and do something I have never done before. I’m going to sit back, and read it for pure enjoyment. No scrutinizing the language, no cursing silly grammatical errors, and no corrections. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll have the notepad app on standby, but I will not physically correct anything, and to be honest, the book is getting to the point I’m not sure there is anything to correct. Sure you can always rearrange a few words here and there, delete a sentence, add a sentence, and the list goes on, but over-editing can be as bad as not editing enough, so I’m not touching it.
Over the past year I’ve linked you to some of the websites I found the most helpful. Granted most of them are literary agents and editors and I plan to e-publish, but their blogs have been so full of information and knowledge, I’m lucky to have come across them and if you’ve checked them out, I know they’ve helped you too.
As I’ve followed this path to publication, you’ll notice my blog posts have become a little spotty. That’s mostly because I don’t choose to post unless I have something to say. I do try to put something up every week, but as Exiled gets closer and closer to publication date, I’m at a loss for words. This is something I’ve spent over 18 months working on, and although I’m almost done Book 2, Exiled is the first. My baby if you will. The nervous anticipation that is coursing through my veins is growing everyday and I’m terrified to release it into the world.
What if the readers that do take a chance on my book hate it? How will I handle those criticisms? On the flip side, what if they love it? You wouldn’t think someone loving your book would be nerve racking, but it is. Not to mention the work is just beginning. Writing the book was the easy part.
That’s not to say writing a book is easy, but I personally have found it to be the easiest of all the publishing related tasks. Next is editing, which at times, can be painful, but when you see the finished product you know it was worth it.
After you decide on cover art, which can be stressful on it’s own, you start the publication process. For those of you that want the traditional route, you query. And you query. And then you query some more. If you land an agent, then you edit some more, revise, and prepare it for submission to publishers. Then if it gets accepted, guess what, more editing.
With the self-publishing route you skip all that, you hire your own editor (I hope) and when it’s ready you upload it to whatever sites you’ve chosen. If you live outside the US – and have a tax treaty with their government – you need to first: sell a few copies, then get letters from the distributors (Take 4 – 12 weeks). Then get IRS tax identification numbers (4 – 8 weeks), and finally once you have that, you fill out a form and send it to said distributors to get the 30% royalties they automatically withhold (another 4 – 12 weeks).
All the while you’re working on your next project and trying to promote your current project with social media sites, blogs, reviewers, and develop a marketing strategy to hit your target audience.
That’s a brief outline of what’s in store for you if you haven’t already published. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting and I look forward to every minute of it, but be prepared to work your ass off.
Then if all goes well, you’re selling lots of books because you’ve had great reviews, you’ve hit your target audience, and you got really really lucky. If it doesn’t go well, people are ripping apart something you spent months, or years putting together. Should that happen, then it’s time to revisit your work and work twice as hard to make it better. And as artists, we’re always getting better.
So let’s recap:
Since I started this blog I: wrote a book, edited it more times than I wish to count. Put it away for a few months, edited it some more, got beta readers to review it, then I hired an editor and together, we edited it even more.
Since the editor has been working on Exiled: I’ve been writing Shift, the second book in the series (I’m 90% through the first draft and I hope to have it completed by the end of the week), I’ve signed up for Twitter, met some amazing people and tried to begin building an audience, made a stack of “To be read” books because I don’t read other books while I’m writing, I’ve started more actively social networking on Facebook and book reviewing sites, I’ve done more research on the traditional and independent publishing worlds, I’ve read as many blogs as I could about writing, reading, publishing, marketing, and business, and I’ve started plotting the next book(s).
By the way, social media is hard work when you do it with a purpose!
When I’m not writing I work a full-time day job, and raise a beautiful daughter with my wife, and I have another one on the way in July!
So there you have it, a recap of where I’ve come from, where I am, and where I’m hoping to go. That’s been my life – in a nutshell – for the past year and if I can do it, so can you.
I don’t care how busy you are, if you have a dream, you can make it happen. Yes, it cuts into TV time, and friend time, and personal time, and party time, and *insert what you like to do when you’re not working here* time, but it’s worth it. Seeing something you’ve worked so hard for come together is incredible. Words cannot explain it. People may love it or they may hate it, but you created it and nobody can take that away.
Just don’t forget to remember; you’ll get better with every word you write, every picture you paint, and each song you sing, but first you have to take the leap.
It’s not easy to follow a dream, but if you don’t chase it, you can’t catch it.