On Writing A Book

9 Feb
If I can do it, so can you.(Credit: Pearson Scott Foresman, Wikipedia)

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 themirrorbooks@gmail.com, 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.

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38 Responses to “On Writing A Book”

  1. KG February 9, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    Getting closer and closer to the release date…. I am getting excited 🙂
    You should start a fiction next.
    And no, I definitely can’t write a book.

    • navigator1965 February 9, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

      Hi KG. Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, it’s getting closer and it is a little exciting. Some trepidation, too, with what I am about to unleash.

      I’ve a thought for a regular novel that is intriguing. I also have a thought for a highly speculative non-fiction work. However, before either of these I have to write the sequel to the current book.

      That one is going to be controversial. };-)>

      • KG February 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

        Oh! You will complete the second one in no time Nav and controversial is good 🙂
        If you are taking a vote on what after that, I would go for for Fiction.

        • navigator1965 February 9, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

          I shall take your valued vote and take under consideration, my dear Madam KG.

          It is an interesting concept for a novel, being a story within a story within a story. Don’t know if I can pull it off, but I’ll never know until I try.

        • KG February 9, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

          🙂 now you got me intrigued.

        • navigator1965 February 9, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

          Have to keep interest up in my work. };-)>

        • KG February 9, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

          😛

        • navigator1965 February 9, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

          Now that made me laugh.

        • KG February 9, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

          🙂

  2. lorriebowden February 9, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    Best of luck to you on your book…it is a super accomplishment! I have always known I would write a book…now that I am fully involved it is an incredible process. I look forward to following your blog and hope to read your book!!! Blessitude – Lorrie

    • navigator1965 February 9, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

      Hello, Lorrie. So nice of you to drop by and leave such a nice comment. Yes, it is an incredible process. Are you self publishing as well?

      Thanks for your kind follow as well.

      • lorriebowden February 11, 2014 at 8:16 am #

        I have not made that decision yet…but it is definitely on the table. Deep in the process of writing, but realize I have to market as well. It really started out as something to help myself but I realized it could help others as well.
        Have a super wonderful day! Blessitude

  3. Aussa Lorens February 10, 2014 at 1:14 am #

    Ah, it’s getting close! Very exciting.
    I have my own sad manuscript to edit… hopefully this summer when my schedule calms down. I feel like the next attempt I make to write a book will be VERY different. I think I’ve learned a ton from the revision process of the last as well as blogging…. well, hopefully anyways 😉

    • navigator1965 February 10, 2014 at 7:59 am #

      A good editor is worth their weight in… well, maybe not gold, but they are quite valuable. Have you thought of hiring an editor after you’ve gone through the manuscript again?

      Yes, blogging has been a learning experience for me as well. Plus one just gets used to writing, so I find it comes more naturally.

      It is getting a little exciting, thank you. Always a pleasure having you here, Aussa.

      • Aussa Lorens February 10, 2014 at 10:29 am #

        Another blogger, “king midget” actually edited my manuscript for me– as an act of charity. He’s self-published several books and is a great writer and he returned some incredibly helpful edits. I agree that blogging is helpful just for the sake of getting back in the habit of writing. Before I started my blog I hadn’t written anything new in at least a year, probably more. Kind of scary how it can lapse like that.

        • navigator1965 February 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

          What a splendid thing for him to do. I’ll have to look up his blog.

          Writing is a bit like riding a bike, I suppose. You never truly forget. But you can certainly get out of practice, or become a bit apprehensive about taking the bike somewhere new if you haven’t ridden in a while.

          Yes, it’s easy to let the writing lapse. Good for us bloggers!

  4. bethbyrnes February 10, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    This must be very gratifying for you. It should also help with the healing process as you have been through a difficult experience, to say the least. It is also always satisfying to set an ambitious goal and achieve it. It has been enjoyable tracking the progress of this book.

    • navigator1965 February 10, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      It has been, Beth, and thank you for your kind comment. You’re quite right about it being gratifying, and right about the healing process aspect too. I get the satisfaction of turning a major negative life event into a positive one. Also, the writing gave me an important insight into the anger that I had repressed over what was done to the children and me.

      I am honoured that you’ve enjoyed and take interest in the book. While it is written for a popular and not scholarly audience, I hope in the end it will prove worthy of your interest.

      It certainly won’t lack for controversy, that’s for certain.

  5. suzjones February 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Well done my friend. You must be so excited and proud at the same time. It is a great achievement. 🙂

    • navigator1965 February 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      Thank you, Sue. It certainly is an achievement to bring a book to fruition. I think it’s more a case of satisfaction than pride, honestly. The test reader feedback was so helpful that I can hardly take all the credit for whatever success the book will have.

      And, to be honest, there is a little bit of excitement. I think it will easily be the most controversial book of its generation; the sequel even more so.

      • suzjones February 10, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

        I hope it brings to fruition all that you hope for.

        • navigator1965 February 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

          Thanks, Sue. You’re a treasure. ❤

  6. Sherri February 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    Very exciting times for you Nav, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experiences throughout this entire process, I for one have found it so encouraging and helpful for when my time comes to publish (got to get that writing done first though, or it ain’t gonna happen 😉 ) I will keep your posts to refer to for the future as they contain a wealth of information. I really do wish you every success and also with your next book! You are my inspiration 🙂

    • navigator1965 February 10, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Thank you, Sherri. Such a nice thing to say–I do hope I continue to live up to such a wonderfully high expectation.

      Your well wishes are most gratefully accepted. Hopefully you will enjoy an equally inspiring experience of your own, and soon.

      Cheers.

      • Sherri February 11, 2014 at 7:04 am #

        I’m sure you will Nav, I have no doubts whatsoever, and thank you again for your ongoing encouragement…oh, and fantastic news about the cover… 🙂

        • navigator1965 February 11, 2014 at 9:32 am #

          You’re quite welcome, Sherri. Yes, I am quite pleased with how the cover designed turned out. I think it’s a rather striking and highly symbolic work. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

        • Sherri February 12, 2014 at 7:56 am #

          I agree 🙂

  7. LC Aggie Sith February 11, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    Great news and so awesome to hear of your accomplishments 🙂

    I don’t think I could write a book. Then again if James Joyce did it, so can I 😉

    • navigator1965 February 11, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

      Thank you, M’Lady Sith. Nice crack about J.J.

      Didn’t he write Harlequin romances? };-)>

      • LC Aggie Sith February 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

        No. Harlequin romances actually have punctuation 😉

        • navigator1965 February 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

          I fear you’ve gone and made me laugh, for which I thank you.

        • LC Aggie Sith February 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

          I live for that 😀

  8. waitingforprincecharming February 11, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    I aspire to follow in your footsteps some day.. You are an inspiration my dear!

  9. bettylaluna February 12, 2014 at 4:35 am #

    If you haven’t already…Julia Cameron’s “The Right to Write”…it’s like my go to source and it hasn’t let me down yet…

  10. navigator1965 February 12, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    Thanks for the tip, Betty. I’ll be sure to check it out.

  11. fallenapostate February 22, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Will you be giving out freebies as a book promotion?

    • navigator1965 February 23, 2014 at 1:06 am #

      I’ve been giving free reads of the galley proof. Still undergoing final proof reading and typo/error corrections. Fire me an email at themirrorbooks@gmail.com if interested. I might be a touch slow responding, as I am on vacation.

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