Whoa! If you’re an aspiring author and someone tells you this process is easy and to dive right in, run. It’s a lie. No one should ever just pick up a pen, (or open Word) and just dive in. I haven’t ventured into the land of traditional publishing, yet, but as a self-publishing author, this *insert bad word* is tough!
Tonight I hit a bad bump where I almost tossed my computer over the balcony and ended my career. It was all of you who share posts like, “I can’t wait to read KT Daxon’s book,” or “Get on this train before you have to pay for her autograph,” that made me stop for a moment and reassess.
I’m the type of person who is self-taught. I thrive on the idea that I can teach myself pretty much anything. When the door creaked open into the world of self-publishing, I was thrown hard against the wall. It was something I had no idea how to handle.
During this process, I learned a few valuable things; a list of tips I plan to take with me when I begin working on my next book.
Things I Learned:
- You Can’t Please Everyone. You’ll hear this a lot, and it’s true. I had four betas, and an editor attack my book. I say attack because none of them held back. They weren’t mean, though a few were tougher than I expected, it was hard to read some of their comments. In the end, they DID help my book, and I’m thankful. However, each person had different things to say. It was then that I realized you can’t please everyone. A scene one person will fully understand, another person might not. If you try to rewrite it, so BOTH understand it, you’ll likely change your story to theirs, or mess the whole thing up altogether. Which leads me to my next tip–
- Remember YOUR Story. I wrote this story because it was what spilled out of me in November 2013 during NaNoWriMo. I didn’t embrace these characters, and the story had no strong plot. Over the years, as I reworked it, BEFORE the editor and betas got it, it became a story I loved. Here’s a secret to my characters: they are ALL me. Gabby is the part of me I HATE. Landon is the compassionate side of me but when things go wrong, can go a little mad, though I’ve NEVER done the things he’s done. Parker is the only one who ISN’T me, Parker represents those people in my life who make me who I am, in a negative light. This story took shape, and it became my story but in a much more elaborate way. A different plot, a different setting, but with three parts of what made up the person I am. YOUR story is written for a reason, never lose sight of that.
- YOU’VE GOT THIS. It took a few rounds of soothing from my betas and other writing tribe friends to help me understand that I’m not a lost cause. I’m not a failure or a fraud. That, in fact, I am a good writer with interesting stories to tell. We all have bad days. Believe in yourself to know that the bad days won’t last if you don’t let them.
As the weeks go by, I am happy to say I am SO close to getting this book in your hands. Gabby, Landon, and Parker’s story is a good one, and I hope you can connect with my characters as I have through this journey. As a debut novel, I put high expectations on its success. Maybe that’s a bad thing, but one thing I do have is FAITH that it’s a story worth telling. I hope you at least have that in your writing.
I’m nearing the end of my ROAD TO PUBLICATION series, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. PLEASE comment below if you have any questions for me about this process. Any information I may have forgotten to share and advice I can offer. I’m here for you just as much, if not more, as you are for me.
Happy Reading/Writing, Lovey’s!
*AUTHORS CLARIFICATION NOTE*
After rereading my previous post, I realize that my choice of words could be read out of context. I wanted to take the time and add this addition to clarify things in case there is any confusion:
For me, the editing phase is an internal struggle. I choose people I have such high respect for and trust their input to read my work after my final revision. With that, I’m left taking every suggestion, and the ones I don’t take, there’s this heavy layer of guilt because it’s like saying those people I trust are wrong.
I have to find a balance of knowing what is in my heart, and trusting that not everything the betas and editors say is 100% correct or lines up with how my story is in my mind. Until I learn that, the story won’t feel like my own. I also may be overthinking it.
It’s true, there have been moments during the editing process where I feel like my story has been taken out of my hands. However, that’s my own fault. The job/purpose of a Beta and an Editor is to point out things that don’t work with your story. Sometimes you’re going to disagree, hell, you may even ponder over making the change for days and weeks.
I was told recently that,
In the end, you have to take what is said to you and make it into your own; you have to fix the issue while keeping YOUR story and your vision intact.
No one can take your story away from you, it’s all on you if that happens. There are SO many things this process is teaching me, and this is just one of them. Writing is all about the journey and how amazing you make it is how you get to The End.