How My First Book Came to Be…

If you didn’t know, I wrote a book! It is available to purchase from Amazon.

Since I’ve finished my book and have started the second one (yippee!), several people have asked me “how” I did it. The snarky part of me wants to say I typed it on a computer and then uploaded it to Amazon, but that’s not what they’re asking. They want to know what my process was.

I am happy to share that with some people, (those who are actually listening and not just being polite).

So, here’s the process for my first book (book two has been a bit different and maybe when it’s done, I’ll write about what changed):

  1. How I started writing a book and why?
    • My book started as one of the short story of the month posts on my blog. Even as I wrote it that month, I knew I wanted to do more with it. It was just screaming for a bigger story. So, I wrote a second story, and then those led to my novel.
    • This is not the first time I’ve started writing a book. I actually have two other books that were started before Unicorns Are Really Vampires. Those two remain unfinished, but who knows, maybe one day….
    • In addition to feeling like I wanted to work on the story some more, my sister invited me to try something called NANOWRIMO (I’m sure many of you are familiar with it). Basically, the idea is that every November is National Novel Writing Month. During that month, if you participate, you are to challenge yourself to write a novel. Most people actually aim for 50,000 words (which is a bit short for a novel). The idea is to get as much writing done as you can in a single month. No editing, just keep pushing forward till you get that word count.
  2. The First Draft
    • I used that initial short story as my idea. And if you are wondering if I had an outline, the answer is no. I am not a planner; I am most definitely a panster. I won NANOWRIMO that year, which means I wrote at least 50,000 words.
    • After that, I put it aside till after the holidays, then I just kept writing a little every day until I felt like it was finished. The first draft was the hardest part but also the most fun. I was building a world, creating characters, and it felt at times that it was writing itself. I enjoyed every painful moment of it (if you have created anything, you know what I mean).
  3. Editing
    • This is the hard part. Spending so many hours creating something and then cutting and changing it is very challenging and almost impossible to do on your own. If you get anything out of my post, this is what I want you to most remember:
      • HIRE AN EDITOR
        • (By this, I mean, pay someone to edit. An unbiased opinion that is not just checking your grammar. My editor told me things about my style, overall pacing, and character development that was immeasurably helpful when I was editing.)
    • Before I sent it to the editor I hired, I did “shop” around. I sent samples to multiple editors and then compared their feedback. I went with the one who was the toughest on me. Hiring someone to edit your entire novel is expensive, and I wanted the most bang for my buck.
    • In total, my book actually went through four rounds of editing.
      • First round: me reading through and making changes. I’m pretty good at editing grammar mistakes and small things.
      • Second round: hired an editor. She suggested a lot of small and big things I didn’t see myself.
      • Third round: following making the changes the editor suggested, I did one more round of editing. (I have a list of things that I look for. For this stage, I used an online editing program called Autocrit.com. It’s only a computer program, but still very valuable as a tool).
      • Fourth round: By this point, I considered the book done. I read it out loud to the living room (my daughter set up a stuffed animal audience for me). I found small things at this point. I call this my final read through. My living room seemed to like it.
  4. Done and Done
    • At this point, all that was left was formatting and creating a book cover. I did both of these things myself. Maybe I’ll write more about this part later; it’s not super exciting.
    • And then I uploaded to Amazon the print edition and kindle version.

And that’s how it was done. All in all, it took me a little over a year and there were a couple of months in there where I didn’t work on it.

Hope this helps for anyone working on their own novel.

Happy reading and writing this month!!!

Boom Bam Baby!

Things are coming together! I’m having a great month, and I hope all of you are too.

The biggest news is that I finished the revisions on my novel and sent it to an editor. This is a huge step. If all goes well, I’m hoping my book will be ready in mid-January! I’m so excited!

In other happy news, NANOWRIMO is going really well for me. I am writing a sequel to my first book, and it kind of feels like it’s writing itself. As of last night, I was at 37,373 words.

All in all, this month has been really productive.

Happy reading and writing every day!

Editing and Prepping My Brain Out

I am very excited to announce that my novel is finally in the midst of editing. I didn’t know what to say about this at first, but let me start with…

I HAVE A FULLY WRITTEN NOVEL.

There, that’s out of the way.

That being said, the hard work of getting the first draft complete was nothing compared to editing. Editing has been both educational for me and heart wrenching.

I say heart wrenching because it is very challenging to go back to something you’ve worked so long on and start chopping it up and dissecting it. After I got past that initial shock, I began to see the experience as rewarding.

I am learning a lot about putting together an actual book that I didn’t know before. I found an editor to work with, and I cannot stress enough how much that experience is teaching me.

In addition to being knee deep in revisions, I am also prepping for NANOWRIMO. Yep, I’m doing it again. My plan is to write part of the draft for book two of the book I just finished. I am really excited about how the outline is shaping up.

It’s been a busy writing month for me, and it’s nothing compared to what’s coming up!

Happy reading and writing everyone!

State of My Novel Address

I originally started this blog for two purposes:

  1. to discuss with others my struggles with writing my first novel
  2. to post short stories

If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I post short stories once a month, but you may be wondering…. How is that novel coming?

As of right now, January 26, 2019, I am FINALLY nearing the end of my first draft. I pushed myself during NANOWRIMO last year and added 50,000 words to my draft. Since then I have been editing and reworking everything that I’ve written so far.

At this point, I only need to write the last part of my book (my novel is broken into 3 sections). You may be thinking, “Doesn’t that mean you have 1/3 still to go?”

Actually, no. I don’t think the third part is going to be quite as long as the first two sections were. My goal is to have a completely finished first draft by mid-February. Then I would like to read and edit one more time before I send it to my beta-readers.

My goal is to get them copies and give them 2-3 months to get back to me. (They have lives). After that, I want to use their feedback to run through it at least once more, probably twice.

When all is said and done, I would like to have a polished copy ready for the world by October 1, 2019. At this point I am planning on publishing ebook style via Amazon. (If you have any suggestions and tips on that route of publishing, let me know).

This year is it. I will have written a book. It’s happening.

Happy writing and reading this month!