At this point, I would like a publisher to come and sweep me away! Take my novel, make it look pretty and turn me into a best selling author!
I know enough now to know that things don’t always work like that. Of course, a publisher has power to make everything look pretty, but the promotion of the author’s book is almost solely left to the author in most cases. It wasn’t always like that – but I’m sure you’ve heard – the publishing industry has changed. In major ways. For example, did you hear about that wee book store named Borders went bankrupt last year? Did you know that Amazon’s ebook sales have eclipsed their paperback sales for the first time?
Anyway, I must remember how I got here.
I take for granted that most people know my story – why I wrote the novel, but the truth of the matter is that most people who read this blog now may not have been with me over three years ago when it started. Why I started this blog has a lot to do with how I started writing my novel.
To be honest, I hate these posts – looking back over what I’ve done to get here. I prefer to look forward, and figure out where I’m going next. Alas, the key to moving forward sometimes is to look back, figure out what you learned and what those lessons can do to help you in the next stage.
So, here I go.
Why I Wrote the Novel
I was given the amazing opportunity over three years ago to take 18 months to do whatever I wanted to do – except work in a job. I was living in England with my British boyfriend, and because I did not have a work visa, I couldn’t work. Sounds like a terrible situation, you’re probably thinking right now, living in England being a lady who lunches, and having your boyfriend provide for you.
Yeah, I wouldn’t feel sorry for me either. But, I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing for 18 months – I wouldn’t have done very well in that situation. After all, it’s not very often that someone goes – “Here is 18 months where you don’t have to worry about providing for yourself, where you have a roof, food and a wonderful love in a foreign country.” I mean, I’m sure others have saved the world in less time, but I decided to do something I’d always wanted to do my entire life – write that novel.
The Writing Process
I believe that there is a better way to write a book than how I went about doing it. I didn’t take a class. I didn’t outline the novel. I just sat down with my old MacBook Pro every morning and wrote. I knew what I wanted to write about, but I didn’t know how I wanted it to end (in fact, I didn’t know until a few months ago). I knew that I loved writing, but I didn’t really know why.
I didn’t go about things in a coherent timeline. I wrote the first draft. Then, I started researching how to write a novel. Then, I researched how to edit a novel. Then, I edited it. I started a book club in England. They read a draft, and gave me feedback. I edited it again.
I started a blog because I wanted an outlet about this process. Then, I found out I was supposed to have a platform for when this book got published. So, I worked hard on the blog, and I built a community of other writers and expats.
I went about this whole thing a bit adhoc. That’s how I learn – in my mind, how could you go about something in a constructive way if you had nothing to base it on? If there was nothing to compare it to, how could you make it more productive? So, the next time, I know what to do – this time, I just went with it. And, it probably all took a lot longer than I expected it to.
The Publishing Process – stay tuned tomorrow for how the publishing process went!