If you want to do it right, I am finding out that self-publishing is a whole learning curve, a new skill to be developed all together. From a year or more ago when I sent $2,000 to IUniverse and then backed out of the contract (thankfully they had a 30 day grace period or something like that) I have been on an incredible journey that I never dreamed I would go on.
First I realized that I needed to do genuine POD (Print on Demand) rather than going with a “Vanity” publisher like IUniverse, Authorhouse or others that try to sell you alot of services but really don’t care about your book quality or how many you sell.
Then thanks to a very generous friend who is also a scathing literary critic, I realized that the manuscript needed a great deal of improvement. That has proven to be the biggest journey. My life as a writer began in highschool where I kept copious journals and was in Honors English. Now 24 years later I’ve written countless thesis papers, a dissertation, and grant proposals that result in significant funding for the nonprofit I direct. All that made me think I knew how to write well.
Question: Is a person who can write successful thesis papers and grant proposals likely to be able to write successful leisure reading like a novel?
Technical writing is merely taking facts and putting them together in a clear, persuasive manner. Writing for people’s pleasure reading requires a different skill set – the ability to paint the picture, fill it with feeling, and craft a story that transports the reader into your world. ENTIRELY a different CREATURE…and I found myself sadly bereft of skill!
So from that point I have been studying everything I can that will help me improve. Perusing portions of Mark Twain, CS Lewis, Shadowmancer, Harry Potter, Eat Pray Love, Three Cups of Tea and others. With that I’ve been going into online collections of gang terms and redneck terms to build my ability to paint the picture of my life (a bit
red neck-ey) and to build the “voice” of one character in the “true fantasy” part of the book – a horse that talks like he came from the streets of Chicago. Probably driving my faithful editors crazy, I have gone back to them umpteen times for their perspective on certain changes. Every time they write back and indicate they are still lookin forward to reading through the final manuscript I breathe a sigh of relief that they aren’t fed up with me yet!
In the midst of all of the above, a cannon ball fell in the ocean next to my boat and sent me for a complete tailspin. The cannonball constituted a writing class I attended where they told me, “Your title will not work.” That was shocking, but it shouldn’t have been. Finally I did what I should have done a year ago – separated myself from my love affair with my title and forced myself to view it as a customer would. Then I saw it – they were right. The title would NOT work, and therefore neither would the cover. I had just spent three weeks working with a graphic designer on a cover to match the title.
Then ensued a flurry of brainstorming for a new title. I think I have now struck upon a high potential title but am not going to be hasty in finalizing it. Even though I’m pushing hard for the book launch to happen sometime before the end of April 2012, I plan to spend some money now to have a professional discuss the proposed title as well as genre issues which I may address in more detail in another post. The title and cover need to be finalized before any promotion can begin, and promotion has to begin four months at least prior to launch.