So I Finally Wrote A Book
Writing is hard. Writing a book is incredibly hard. And going through the editing, the cover design, the self promotion, and all the other work that goes into actually publishing a book? Sometimes it seems like a near impossible feat. I honestly have no clue how I managed it, but I did, and now one (1) whole childhood dream of mine has been made into a reality.
Just so we’re all clear, this isn’t going to be a how-to guide for self-publishing your novel. In fact, I’d encourage you to seek that information from just about anyone but me. Even after going through the whole process start to finish, I’m still not entirely sure of what all I actually did, and I certainly don’t think I could write a coherent post detailing the method to my madness. At best, I could give you a couple of vague suggestions like “write a book”, “pace around your living room as you struggle to come up with a marketing game plan”, or “don’t worry: the suffering part is normal.” Instead, this post is just me rambling about the stress, agitation, soul-crushing dread, and joy of going through the whole self-publishing book experience for the first time.
Everyone always says writing the book is the hardest part, but I’ve learned that’s not even remotely true. If anything, editing is the hardest part. You’ve just spent the past however many weeks or months word-vomiting all over a blank document, and once you’re reading it back to yourself—or worse, once you’re reading the editor’s notes—you realize that you’ve barely scratched the surface of the story in your head. So you go through your manuscript and edit so much that you’ve essentially rewritten half the book; chapters are deleted or merged, new chapters are added, and the action is rewritten a thousand times until it sounds just as exciting as what you’re picturing. You then repeat this process of reading and editing until your finished book barely qualifies as ever having stemmed from your original manuscript.
The next step, of course, is publishing. Ebook? Print? Both? Ebook is certainly easier to accomplish, but there’s just something so appealing about being able to hold a physical copy of your book. I chose to do both print and ebook, and I have to admit that perfecting the cover file for the print version was far more difficult than I was expecting. So much need for bleed in the layout… Still, I recommend doing print and ebook just because I’m a sucker for print books. Someday, I might even do a hardcover copy with a dust jacket and everything just because I love hardcover books so much.
Once you’re done with making sure your book is acceptable for retail, it’s onto the marketing stage. I’m actually still trying to figure this part out. I’ve read what feels like every single blog post and article about self-promotion and ebook advertisement, but I’ve yet to find a game plan that makes the most sense for me. Hopefully, after some time and experimentation with different methods, I’ll have a better understanding of what works for me and what doesn’t.
I don’t yet know what type of future I’ll have in writing books—or if I’ll amount to anything more than an eccentric hobbyist with a few friends dedicated enough to tolerate my nonsense—but I do know that despite the hard work and frustration, I’d gladly go through this process again and again and again until all my ideas have put on paper.