Years ago I was reading a romance book and I told Hubby, “I think I could do this.” And I did. It was slow going for awhile. I worked on it at random times. If I’m being honest, it was a hot mess and needed so much work.
Writer’s block is a thing. You have the gist of the storyline but get caught up on what the conflict might be or the direction in which your book is heading.
Then a writing contest crossed my path. For my genre, I needed to write 50K-60K words. During that three week period, I completed the first draft of my first book, You and Only You. It’s a lot of work but if done right, you fall in love with your characters.
Note: If you feel your characters’ emotions so will your readers.
So time passed… a lot of it. The manuscript got metaphorically dusty on my computer. Then one day, thanks to my Uncle Al and Aunt Linda- who wrote an autobiography- I was re-inspired. I worked evenings and weekends polishing my manuscript, I do after all have a full-time job that I absolutely love.
In September of 2018, I decided after scrubbing my book over and over, to self-publish rather than go the traditional route. Really for no reason, other than the self-publishing resources are pretty impressive and I’m too impatient to submit manuscripts and wait anywhere from 60 days to 6 months to hear back from an agent/publishing company. There’s nothing wrong with traditional publishing and it has it’s obvious benefits, but that’s not the direction I chose.
Note: Watch out for “vanity publishers”. No legitimate agent/publisher will charge upfront fees if they truly believe in your work.
It starts with an idea, research the genre you’re interested in, read books in that genre to get a feel. Remember that everyone has their own style, don’t let someone else’s style intimidate or discourage you.
Decide if you’re going to write under your name or a pen name- I selected a pen name for a multitude of reasons. If you’re really interested as to why, comment below and ask!
Once you have that decided, jump on twitter and search and use the hashtags #writingcommunity and #amwriting. NEVER before have I found such a supportive industry or group of people as this community! Trust me. Follow, follow, follow. Click on an individual with a lot of followers and follow them. Get followers back but remember that it’s important to interact in the Twitter Writer’s Community.
It was in this community that I also found my editor, whom I used for my second book When A Stranger Watches, ready for publishing soon. Charlie Knight is so talented and reasonably priced for her services. The old adage “You get what you pay for” doesn’t ring true here. She’s EXCELLENT at her craft. I’m so grateful to have found her. She makes it affordable for self-publishers to have professional editing work completed on their manuscripts and worth every penny!
You can also request beta readers and trade services- you read mine, I’ll read yours and we offer feedback. It’s expected to hear critique. Don’t take it personally, their feedback is what will make your book more appealing to your readers.
What comes first? The title or the manuscript? That’s up to you. My titles come to me before I even start the book. My third is called Margaritas on the Riverwalk. I have about a page and a half written! But you will need a book cover. Come back to this blog as I will link Book Cover services as they reply to me. PEOPLE DO JUDGE A BOOK BY THEIR COVER, so a quality cover is important.
Kindle Direct offers easy self-publishing solutions… with reasonable royalties. You can also choose to print through Kindle though I haven’t gone that route as of yet, so I can’t speak about the success of their printing services.
Create a Facebook author page, invite people and interact in it, using hashtags for the days of the week… don’t just promote your book. Make it interesting, host giveaways (it’s easy to comp several Kindle versions of your book for those who participate).
Consider forming a business- maybe an LLC or an S-Corporation for your expenses and royalties. Consult an accountant or tax attorney before doing this, but your writing space in your home, traveling to areas for research, a new computer or marketing your book(s)- even via a coffee mug- all can become a write-off so it’s worth considering!
Finally, here’s a link to my own self-published book You and Only You -OF COURSE I had to include this- by Brooke Young, my pen name. This one’s not perfect, far from it. My second one is better thanks to Charlie Knight’s editing services, but You and Only You is a steamy romance- it will make you blush- but hey that’s . It’s my first attempt as a novice writer and I am, admittedly, proud of it… even if I switch point of views often. I love Jack and Berkleigh… they are a great couple that you root for! But he betrays her (duh! that’s expected in my genre) and it’s up to you, as the reader, to decide if what he’s done is forgivable or not. Should they (and do they) end up together?
By the way… the greatest compliment you can give an author is to leave a review if you enjoyed the adventure they took you on!
If you decide to write a book, comment below what you would write about. AND if you ever decide to sit down and write THAT book, whatever it might be about… hit me up, I’m happy to help.