There is one thing I feel obligated to share with all writers and every potential self-publisher, independent publisher, ebook publisher, and old-fashioned print publisher: the rush of finally seeing your book for sale makes all the work and worry worth it.
We all share the dream of being published. We all want our hard work to pay off, our vision to be offered to the world. But, alas, when we are in the depths of the writing, that rush is impossible to experience. While we are wrestling with the addicting nature of commas and adverbs and endless description, we can’t, and shouldn’t, bask in the moment of birth, when our book finally emerges onto the market.
Here’s what I offer you today: a glimpse of the finish line. Or I should say, finish lines (there are a few). You are encouraged to print this out and post it near where you write, so that when you lose energy and want to get up for a cuppa or a beer or to walk the dog, feed the cat, stretch, flee, or anything else that will delay you from finishing, you can glance over and be reminded of what you are working to accomplish.
1) After all the writing, proof reading, editing, and rewriting, one day you will be done. You will know it, and the glow of accomplishment will spread through you like you just reached the promised land.
2) Following a period of formatting, including designing a cover, you will load up your novel to Kindle, or Nook, or iBook, or all of the above and more, and after varying degrees of paperwork and frustration, your book will be put “in review” which is a lot like experiencing yourself or your very pregnant significant other being wheeled into a delivery room. You will realize your book is out of your hands and on its way to the world. The feeling is as thrilling as it is daunting.
3) Soon that review will end, and your novel or nonfiction work will go “live” to the public. Take a deep breath and go to the ebook store and you will see your work offered to the world. You will search for it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or iBook, etc., typing in your name or the title, and all at once you will see it (and you) among the pantheon of literature, genre, history, and pop culture. Go ahead, search Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, H.P. Lovecraft, J.K. Rowling, Hunter S. Thompson; they are all there. And now, so are you.
4) Next, do what so many independent publishers do; buy your own book to make sure it actually works. In a few short minutes, you will look at your work now downloaded onto your Kindle, Nook, iBook, Sony eReader, etc. and you will know, after all the diligence and dreaming, all the wrestling and wondering, that you are, in fact and indisputably, a published author.
5) Either subsequently or simultaneously (trust me, do this at the same time you are processing your ebook publications), you may be working with createspace.com or fastpencil.com to format a print on demand version of your novel. Somewhere around the middle of this process, you will receive a proof copy of your book. Take your time opening that package, making sure to be seated, because inside is your dream made flesh. Younger writers may only need the ebook experience, but most of us still live with the concept of a book as paper and ink. And when that beautifully bound organization of pages is in your hands, with your name smiling up at you like a breathtaking newborn, life changes irrevocably.
And you will never be the same.
Are there edits and adjustments throughout these processes? Yes, but they are just feedings and diaper changes. You will know in your heart and deep in your soul that you have done something that very few people in the world actually do. You finished the journey. You gave a new work to the world. You contributed to the global discussion. You participated in a way most others on this planet cannot.
Congratulations. Enjoy the glow, you earned it.
Making the world take notice of your baby, that’s a discussion for another day…