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So You Think You Can Write a Book?

I thought so, and actually did write my first edition in nine months…the time it takes to grow a baby. It’s taken me the next seven years to perfect that edition, and only through making the mistakes was I made aware of them.

The biggest hurdle is getting started. Just putting ideas and a storyline on paper is a first step. The actual writing and building the book, chapter by chapter is another challenge. When to finish a chapter, do you leave it on a cliff-hanger or not? Most often the answer is “yes” but there are times when it is best to finish the scene and start the next chapter anew.

There are many suggestions how to engage the reader, but bringing suspense and intrigue into the story is a must. Inserting suspicion in the beginning that comes alive at the end of the chapter or the end of the story; planting the first seed of intrigue and where to plant it, or is it a slow build-up of suspicion? These are all features that will bring life to your story…and a lot to think about.

The next consideration is the English; grammar, punctuation and sentence construction. This is when you really need to hire an editor because you can never find your own errors on this level, since you wrote them in the first place. Hiring an editor can be expensive, so best to go through a registered writing group to find one that comes recommended. Also, know that you can edit a book forever. There’s always a better way to say something, and room for improvement. But know when to stop, and feel satisfied that you like what you’ve written, even if the ‘Trolls” attack you, and they will. There’s always a critic lurking somewhere, ready to jump in and criticize your masterpiece. So be prepared, and develop a thick skin but not so thick that you don’t recognise a true comment, bad or good, when you get one.

It’s not enough to have written a good story if you are in search of an Agent, and want to go the traditional publishing route. Your book has to be pretty much perfect for them to take notice and actually read your first submission. Also be aware that with a traditional publisher, you are selling the rights of your book to the publisher. Once they have bought it, they can chop and change your writing however they want.

Self-publishing is another way of getting published, and keeping the rights to your book. But be aware that these people will do nothing to help you without charging an arm and a leg for their services, and I’m talking between $3,000.00 - $9,000.00 for a first time read through edit. After that they might suggest a proof reading—more money. And, then there’s the final line editor at the end—even more money. There are many other services they will suggest, all of which cost a lot of money, so be prepared to spend your life savings with them.

Finally, don’t lose heart, and this is so often the case with newbies who can’t find the right help and don’t have the money to spend searching. Personally I have given up on self-publishing for the time being. I feel ripped off by them but glad to have learned my very expensive lessons by using them in the first place. Now I know there are other ‘free’ publishing services available and I still get to keep the rights to my book. It’s a fearful experience to release your book to the public, and let go of your first written creation.

Best of luck and keep writing…

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