A Writing Life
“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way – E. L. Doctorow
Do you often dream about writing a novel? Maybe it’s been at the bottom of your bucket list for decades. Perhaps you’re postponing your writing or struggling to complete a manuscript out of fear of failure. Creating something that might be ridiculed out there in the vast reading world may have you frozen with panic. I can empathise with that feeling. Writing and publishing a significant piece of work is one of the most exciting and daunting things that you can set out to do. It’s a journey that countless embark on, and many fail to complete.
I hope this book will help you overcome some of that fear and fire you up to get on with producing your first novel.
About this book
This book is for new authors, whether you’re thinking about starting or have actually started writing something but find yourself feeling a little lost. I hope my tips and hints throughout will provide you with guidance as you move forward. I’ve split the book into three main sections: Writing decisions, Writing, and Publishing.
At the end of each sub-section, I list what I’ve done in my career, and give an example of what else you could try. Finally, I have a couple of appendices at the end of the book that list all the resources I’ve used, and online mentors I still follow.
What this book is not
It is not a how-to guide that covers story structure, character arcs and development, plots or dialogue. I’ve listed great books that tackle those areas in more detail in the back.
No perfect path exists to becoming a professional author because every person is different, and the market is morphing and changing so quickly. If you aspire to do writing as a full-time gig, you’ll have to discover your own exciting path. I wrote this book to help answer some of the questions I first had when I embarked on my writing career. I’ve learnt so much over the last decade and produced a body of work that I’m proud of. Nothing would please me more than to help you do the same.
It is your journey. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and where they are in their careers. Start yours off by putting pen to paper and reading more books like this one.
How to get a copy of A Writing Life
This book is not for general sale and only available FREE of charge to my newsletter subscribers.
Book Table of Contents
Section A – Writing Decisions
Fiction or Non-fiction. Once off hobbyist or Serious career author. Decide early – your thinking might need to change. Traditionally published or Self-Publishing. Series or Standalone. Get yourself mentored up. Publishing books I’ve read (and re-read many times). Make time, don’t find the time. Panster vs Plotter – Which are you? Kick-off your Author Platform
Section B – Writing
Concept documents / Ideas down on a single page. Research the main idea points. A one-page synopsis. Come up with the premise. Work on a rough outline. Character names and CVs. Create a stepsheet / Chapter outline. Get your mindset ready to write. The first draft. Write five to six drafts. External Edit. Apply changes and suggestions. Write full synopsis. The design of your cover. Send the list to the designer. Last few reworks. Send to Beta-readers – focus on plot and characters. Ramp up efforts on your author platform. Create a book page on your website. Front and back matter. Send document off to the proofreader. Final read through. Complete blurbs and descriptions. Update webpage for the book. Getting your manuscript formatted. Decide on the sales price. Back up your files and covers. Send out ARC – advanced reader copies.
Section C – Publishing
Upload Word doc to your aggregator then publish. Smashwords to distribute to all vendors. Blog and promote on social media. Upload your Mobi file to Amazon. Claim your Amazon Author Central Account. Printing paperbacks – Do it yourself. Printing paperbacks – Use Amazon to do it. Full cover design. The importance of the Amazon “also bought”. Post publishing changes. Filing the documents – the Outlook method. Promotion scams – a warning. Promotions and adverts. Rankings. For the future.
Appendix A – Suppliers I use
Appendix B – Writing books that I have read on my journey
Appendix C – Lessons learned so far about Self-Publishing
An early post that I wrote about self- publishing – SELF PUBLISHING – THE REASONS I CHOSE THIS PATH FOR MY BOOKS