If I can do it, so can you.(Credit: Pearson Scott Foresman, Wikipedia)
As with many people, I aspired to write a book one day. Now that I have done it—book should be out in a month or so—, I thought I might write on writing. A book, that is.
I don’t know if there is a right way or a universal formula, so I’ll just describe what I did. It may or may not apply to you.
While I do love fiction, I’ve always wanted to write non-fiction. The problem was, I never really had anything substantive enough to write about. Plus, those married-with-children years didn’t actually leave me with a lot of spare time, either.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t write—I did. Mostly shorter professional writing, though. (If you blog, you’re writing too.) But not the book or books that I had wanted to do.
Then something “good” happened. I had a divorce from hell starting in 2008. Every feminist within reach seemed to line up to put the boots to me. I finally had something to write about.
I did plenty of research. It’s so easy in today’s internet age. I checked all the applicable laws and regulations. As it turned out, I discovered that what some of the feminist social workers, lawyers, and judge did to my kids had a name: abduction, as defined in the Criminal Code. When I brought this to the attention of the authorities (everyone that I could think of), it was covered up.
I had a couple of false starts in writing the book. It really got going once I learned about writing a book proposal, as this allowed me to wrap my head around the project. With a planned structure in place, the writing had a framework to hang itself upon.
This is the last post on my series on book proposals. It has links to all the instalments.
It took me about five months, working vacations, evenings, and weekends, to write the first draft. It was in rough shape in terms of typos and errors, but there it was. This was almost a year ago. Since then, I’ve been doing a sequence of test readers. Get the feedback, check my emotions and ego, and think about it. Make enhancements. Another test reader. Repeat. Repeat again.
Around two dozen test readers later…
It appears that the trend for new authors is definitely to self publish their first book(s), and hopefully to get noticed and then signed by a traditional publisher. So, I began the self-publishing stuff in earnest last fall, while continuing with the test readers. I chose FriesenPress.com, as they offered a fairly comprehensive package. I have to do most of my own marketing, but that’s par for the course.
The beauty of test readers is fourfold, as I see it. First, they can give you the unbiased advice that you might be incapable of giving yourself. Second, they read what you actually have written, whereas you tend to read what you think you have written. Third, with enough eventual positive feedback, you gain confidence in both your manuscript and your ability to write. Fourth, if you work at it long enough, are personable enough, and are grateful enough, you just might build a humble PLATFORM that is said to be essential these days.
I’ve reviewed the galley proofs for my book and sent them back for correction. I should be receiving the revised galleys any day. The cover design, which I have deliberately not revealed yet, is finished, and people say that it is striking. I am getting so close.
This started five and a half years ago. Obviously, perseverance is a virtue as a general rule, and this applies to writing books as well. There is a message that everyone should take from this.
If I can do it, so can you.
* * * * *
I blog as navigator1965. My blog The Mirror is a reflection upon life, and covers different topics. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I do thank you for your kind interest in this guest post. Note that test readers are also referred to as beta readers.
[EDITORIAL Note: This has been simultaneously posted at A GOOD BLOG IS HARD TO FIND and HarsH ReaLiTy.