The Self Publishing Experience – A Guide to My First eBook and Print on Demand
My first experience with self publishing a novella goes something like this and these are my recommendations for someone attempting to write their own:
1. “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, do something worth the writing or write something worth the reading.” Benjamin Franklin
a) Outline your story.
b) However, my writing style depends on writing. I get into a zone and my imagination and unconscious thought run free. If something pops into my head that I really like, I write it and adjust the story as I go. My outlines are a rough progression of events that will likely change as I write but the overall story remains the same, it’s just how my characters do it. Don’t stress over having a detailed outline, those details will write themselves when you get there.
c) Prepare an encyclopedia. I forget things as I move through a story so having a reference of character biographies, locations, and object/equipment keeps things consistent. I’ve had to stop writing because I didn’t know who my character was yet. Sometimes you just don’t know what you need until you start writing.
d) I don’t like to lose momentum so I do not edit as I go. Paper Boxes Vietnam If something catches my eye or I don’t have a quick fix, I use the highlight function in the word processor and move on. Editing is for editing sessions. Take notes too of what you want to revisit, add, or maybe remove. I bump into things later that require changes earlier. I do go back and read for story continuity but I don’t edit.
2. Edit your book.
a) If you’re financially weak and/or too cheap to hire an editor, spend months on the editing process. Print it multiple times (a retail store printer like Staples came in really handy) and read it line by line, word by word when doing grammar and punctuation. The author will not be able to read it for edits in a traditional manner because they will naturally become fixated on the story and how action or dialogue plays out. Happens to me all the time.
b) Read it aloud, that can help identify all kinds of errors.
c) Read it all the way through and use the highlight function. Then go back to those highlights and attack them individually. Then do it all over again. I’ve highlighted entire chapters. Highlight grammar, punctuation, plot holes, things you want to expand upon, etc. Makes it easy to find what I want to work.
d) Take breaks from editing. Let it sit for a week before going back to it.
e) Have other people read it and ask for feedback and basic editing.
f) Do not edit it yourself. Even though I did, it’s not the right way to do it. But then again, I’ve seen best sellers with errors… though they were minor errors. You do not want a gaping plot hole. Have other readers than yourself. I may have a slight advantage here because I wrote movie screenplays solo for almost a decade and achieved some minor success.
g) Keep notes as you write and edit of what needs to be fixed or what you might want to change. Some things may not work with what you want to write later. I don’t know what I will write later until I write it and I have no problems going back to a previous scene and changing it entirely.
h) Make sure it is consistent. This is where an editor really helps. Do location changes make sense? Does something a character say later completely contradict what they said in a previous chapter? Highlight things that come into play later on, this way you can match the two scenes easily for continuity