When you’ve set yourself up as a writer, it’s not all about writing. Saturday morning was one of those ‘admin’ mornings. Sometimes these are hard work, other times like today, they are pleasant. Today pulled into focus the fact that there are enjoyable things about the writing process, some less pleasant and some that are just plain nice. (Please change that adjective and use one of your own. I was lazy there and should have used ‘rewarding’ or ‘pleasant.’)
The hard work of writing
Some things about being a writer are hard work, but the fact that you are doing what you want to do makes them easier. Or at least, it should. The most difficult part of writing a novel is putting in the words, and putting in the hours of putting in the words. You latch on to your plot and characters and do all the fun background stuff of creating the story ahead. Then come the hard part, putting in all the words. I think it was Agatha Christie who said, “I have the plot and characters, all I need now are the words.” Something like that. That’s the hard part, writing down 80,000 words – or whatever.
The second hardest part is selling the book. Even if you have a publisher with a publicity machine and marketing to do it for you, you must do a lot of things yourself. Book signings, PR, etc. If you don’t have a publisher you have to work even harder to get the word, and the book, out there. That’s the thing I dislike the most, the PR. I’m not a salesman. But, get yourself in the right frame of mind and put that mind to it, and you can find you actually enjoy entering competitions (a good way to get noticed) and persuading friends to write reviews, finding blogs that might cover you and talk about your work, making contacts and all that. Keep at it. It’s hard work, but in the end, it may pay off and, if you enjoy the journey along the way, all the better.
[There will be more about the process of putting a story together later, check the category list in the right column. There’s a drop-down menu that says Post Categories, then you click on a subtitle and find all posts under that heading.]
The easy work of writing
For me, the easiest parts are the creating and the editing. Inventing a world, and its characters, thinking out a neat plot with twists and turns, obstacles and trials, tribulations and events for your character that will make things interesting. Working out backstories and making up lives, that’s all fun too. (You then have to write the body of the text, see above.) Then you have the editing where, after putting the thing aside for some time, you can come back to it and see what you have repeated, what you’ve told us already, what that character wouldn’t do but does (if he wouldn’t do it, don’t let him! Keep in character), seeing what you have misspelled (a great deal in my case), see how you can shorten it. Then get into the technical detail of your grammar and so on. I now use Grammarly to help me with this and I have an excellent editor too.
The next fun part is working on the cover, but I shall cover covers in another post one day. If you want to see who I used (for the first time) on ‘The Saddling’, check the bookmarks list on the right. The Design link with lead you to People Per Hour where you can put up a job and see who bids, or where you can simply find and contact designers and layout experts. There are many excellent ones there looking for freelance work.
And the next stage is the ‘nice’ things about writing. Not that I like the word ‘nice’. It’s not a nice word at all, strangely enough. But you will know what I mean. Today, Saturday 11th March, I received an email from someone I don’t know. She had bought ‘Remotely’ for a friend and thought she’d check it out first. She’s now “gripped”, as she puts it. As well as saying some other things she adds, “I love all the many details you pull together in one eloquent paragraph!”
It’s always good to get feedback like this and you have a responsibility to reply to such emails. Thank the person (even if they are not complimentary emails) and, in cases like this, try and get them to write a review on Amazon as these help sales. But do connect with your readers, especially if they have taken the trouble to connect to you. It makes it all worthwhile.