Just when you think you have finished, you have written everything you wanted to write, created the story, the journey, the experiences, who is in your book and who isn’t. Just when you are so pleased that you’ve done ‘it’. You have put down around 90,000 words, more or less. Three hundred pages, more or less. You’ve edited like crazy or as they say, till your eyes bleed from looking at the material over and over, adding, cutting, changing. One day you love your writing. Another day you wonder what the hell was I thinking, writing this drivel? Friends are fairly redundant, because they usually say, you are so good or gently remind you that there are many people writing and that you are a drop in the ocean of books.
Okay, so you’ve gone beyond that. You feel that its time for a professional editor to go at it and see what you don’t, fix what you can’t, advise what you should. Finding the right editor is as complex as writing the book in the first place. Search, check out their qualifications, ask for recommendations, and of course, sift through the agonies of costs, anything from you can afford it to what are you? A millionaire! So you FINALLY find an editor you are happy about, but there is still work. You have to do all the fixing up, either from Tracking (which I don’t particularly like, my computer/s refuse to make the comment box big enough for me to read whats in it, and I sit there with a magnifying glass glued to my computer screen). Highlights help, and typed up pages of suggestions do too, but it means going over the whole thing again. This time your eyes are not bleeding anymore, they feel like sandpaper has attached itself to your eyeballs. Still, you go ahead.
What about your book cover? Ah, you have an idea that what you want is so fabulous that anyone who sees it will pick up your book immediately, read the brilliant blurb you have written on the back, and rush to buy your book. Ha ha ha. First you have to find the cover designer, and there is a forest of options. There is Fivrr, and templates that you can fiddle with to get something vaguely resembling what was in your head in the first place, or, you find a package that will provide someone to ‘design’ your cover. Still, a part of the cost factor. You provide them with your idea, tell them they are the creative person so you leave the magic up to them…. And you wait impatiently for their first submission to you, oh dear, that’s not what you really had in mind, never mind, they will fix it, but its a template, so it will take I don’t know what, because its not my field, but they are sweeties and come back with some ‘fixed-up’ covers, eventually you settle for what is close enough to your vision.
After that, unless you know how to format and upload your book, you leave it to the expert that you have hired to do the rest.
Did I say the rest? Foolish one, the rest is the promotion … Do you have the savvy, the money, the contacts, the chutzpah (cheek) to chase every cat and its buddies to promote your much cherished creative outpourings? Some do? Most don’t. Can you possibly pester everyone you know, half know, don’t know, meet in cafes, your social media buddies and people who don’t even speak English to buy and read your book. Actually, buying it takes precedence over reading it.
Please don’t let me put you off, there are rewards to writing a book, don’t expect it to buy you a flash car or dream home, unless of course, you have the marketing skills of that wretched piece of number shades of grey, person. The big deal is, you’ve done it, you have crossed from the dream through to the creative process, into the whole journey of getting your book out there, and finally, there it is, on the public arena, WOW, that’s huge, and you can hold your novel to your chest with the pure joy of having ‘achieved it’.
Oh, I didn’t tell you, my autobiography, “Sometimes the Music” is currently in ‘the process’ so I’m writing from the vagaries of my own experience.
Helene Grover – The Pleasure of Writing