I've been thinking about this blog. I began it because it is one of the things that authors today need to have to help with marketing their books, whether they write fiction or non-fiction. I didn't really think about what I would put into this blog. I figured I'd mention my novels as I went along, but other than that, I had no real plan. I still don't. But I have realized that some people who come here will be writers and some will be new writers... writers who may have questions about being an author and all that that entails.
At this point I should probably tell you my personal meanings of "writer" and "author". To me, an author is a writer who is published. That can mean self-published or publisher published. It can be e-book published or physical book published. Published is published and once you are published you move from being a "writer" to being an "author". In my mind anyway.
I've decided that today I'm going to talk about what is called "the writing process". Off to the left is supposed to be a picture I found that shows what the five steps of the writing process are. However, I have to make the picture available before I can attach it to my blog. I'll get it there... but give me time.
Anywho.... these are the steps that are recommended for writers to follow when they write. It starts with "pre-writing" or planning out your book. Then comes writing it using the plan. Next you make all of your revisions. When that's finished, you edit, correcting grammar and spelling. Finally you publish.
Many authors follow these steps but many others do not. Most authors develop their own writing process as they go along. Every author's process includes at least some of these steps, however, so using this list is a good place to start if you're a beginning writer.
My own writing process consists of:
1. Figuring out where my newest novel will be published. In my case, I prefer to self-publish my e-novels at Smashwords.com. They have a fantastically easy-to-understand manual for formatting your e-novels, they give you an ISPN, and if you get into their "premium catalogue" they send your e-books to many other places (like Barnes & Nobel and Apple's iBooks).
2. Set up my new document in my word processing program correctly so that the new novel is being written in the formatting style that the selling site requires. This is an extremely important step for me. E-books are not the same as physical books and require a special kind of formatting. Setting up the document correctly at this point will save a lot of time and energy when the book is finished.
3. Writing - editing and writing - editing and writing - until the novel is finished. To me, editing is an integral and ongoing step. Other than the first bout of writing, I always start a writing session by editing what I wrote last time (and sometimes a bit more). That does a few things for my books. It makes them cohesive. It keeps my characters "in character". It allows flow through the novel. It allows me to find grammar errors (I constantly have my spell checker turned on, so I catch spelling errors as I go).
4. After the writing and final editing is complete, I check my formatting carefully to ensure that it is absolutely perfect for the place I have planned to publish to.
5. Design the cover and make it the right size for the site you are publishing to. If you aren't artistic or don't want to do this step yourself, you will need to hire someone to do this for you. You need a terrific cover, so don't skimp on this step.
6. Publish. Publishing is a bit different on different sites, so be sure you read each and every line in each and every section and get the form(s) filled in properly. You'll be uploading your cover as well as your book, so make sure both are ready.
7. Market, market, market! This is a whole topic by itself. Let it just be said at this time that marketing is something essential and needs to be done right.
So those are the steps I take to get a novel ready and available for my fans . Notice I do not plan my novels in advance. I tend to let the novel tell me how it wants to be written and what it wants to say rather than my forcing it to do things my way. I find I have a much better novel in the end when I do things that way... and that makes my fans happy, which is what it's all about.