So, my first book is one month away from publication. One month. I started writing the book in January 2015. To go from scratch to publication (with an actual proper publisher I might add) in less than twelve months for a previously unpublished author is not bad going in my book (pun intended). Add to that the fact that book two is complete and I’m a third through book three with contracts in hand for the whole bloody trilogy you could say I’m quite chuffed about the whole thing.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to understand the level of authority I’m about to apply. I’m no expert. I’m a newbie, a beginner, green as can be, but I’d like to share with you my thoughts on just how much stuff goes on after the first draft is completed before a book is actually presented to the world for sale.
Everyone has heard of it. Most writers have had some experience of it in some way or another. I wasn’t totally uninitiated in the world of editing, but I really had no idea just HOW MUCH editing went on. I’ve been told that as first drafts go, mine was fairly clean. Overall the structure didn’t change much so the majority of edits were grammatical, but it took AGES. Round after round, every word every comma, every sentence, paragraph, everything was read over and over and fiddled with until it was as perfect as could be. It took MONTHS – and it’s probably still not 100% perfect.
The cover design concept was mulled over, the artist chosen, the first sketch, the second sketch, tweaks here and there, on and on. I was lucky enough that the publisher had a physical painted version of my cover made up, it gives it a unique feel in comparison to the digitally designed covers that are the fashion these days. Again, it took MONTHS.
I use Microsoft word. I thought I was fairly good on formatting. Turns out that wasn’t the case. The words have been jumbled up and rearranged on the page so many times. Add the fact that ebook and print formats are both very different kettles of fish and you get the idea, it’s a lot of work, and every major change means another full read-through of the entire book.
There are so many places that sell books these days. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, istore – the list goes on and on, and you need to add the book to each of them and set up an author profile and link it to the book every time. Whilst I certainly had help in doing the profiles, it was something that I hadn’t even considered doing all those months ago when I was happily plugging away at my first draft thinking that once it was done, all the hard work would be over. How wrong was I?
Of course, I’m lucky, most of this work has been done for me by the publisher and my involvement after the editing stage has been limited. It’s still been exhausting and stressful and very educational. I will never again underestimate the work that goes into a book after the writer has finished the first draft.
Best of luck to any other writers out there who are trying to jump onto the wagon, it’s a hell of a ride.