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Joys of Writing

What to Expect When Diving into the World of Self-Publishing

Open your eyes, then your book. 

Writing is an entrancing thing. The author puts their thoughts into words others can relate to. How bloody fantastic is that? Imagine someone’s mind projected onto a screen. You can see all the mindless workings, what their first thought, second thoughts are when they see you. You can see how they construct sentences and get to know how another person sees things.

In writing, the author takes their reader on a journey to how another person sees things. I’m doing that right now, as you dive into my take on writing. My passion seethes through my words and into your eyes, as you wonder what my life might look like on the other side of the screen. It’s quite unrealistic though, and that makes it fun. The projection of my thoughts on paper makes me seem like a much more interesting person than I am.

With words, an author can describe an entirely new world. They can imagine a world where slavery didn’t exist, where people treated each other equally, where knights in sweatshirts saved the day, and where your average Joe meant something. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? Aren’t words amazing?

It’s a wonder the world doesn’t appreciate them so.

So often, publishing companies turn down what could’ve been the story to impact a generation, the story to bring about the change the world needs. They could’ve turned down the book children would have studied in classrooms, pointing out all the unintentional details the author instinctively added in, or the social issues hidden by motifs and metaphors. These words, these stories, they are a beautiful thing. So why don’t publishing companies realize it?

No doubt, once an author is accepted into a publishing company, getting a book on the market is easier. An entire team of experts in the field is at your disposal to format the book, perfect cover art, market to hungry readers, and ultimately put money in your pocket. Partnership is comforting and ideal, yet few authors experience this sensation when publishing.

A hundred years ago, big publishing companies were the only option, either be rich enough to print your book yourself or pay someone to do it. Yet the authors who needed to be heard were the ones who had no money to publish. They were reliant on the people lucky enough to run a publishing company. They were at the mercy of the publishers.

This age’s aspiring writers are the same. They are hungry and without resources, wanting to share their words with the world quite a bit more than getting paid for it. The best ones have pure intentions and passion reeking havoc on all the paper around them. And yet, an option exists that many are afraid to pursue due to lack of knowledge: self-publishing.

Ranging from scientific studies to short story collections to the classic novel, any author can self-publish. However cheap and well laid out it is, the process will still leave chills running down the amateur publisher’s spine. However, by keeping your head and expectations straight, the publishing process will run much smoother.

1. What I should spend money on?

The first draft is rough, the second draft is alright, and by the third draft, you’re blind to any mistakes. By enlisting the help of other authors in your community or English-savvy people that you know well (professors, other authors, librarians etc.), you can get the draft you see as good up to great. If you don’t know anyone you trust to edit your beloved work, consider paying a qualified editor to help you out. Consult reviews and the editor themselves before you pay them.

The other segment you will want to spend money on is cover art. The saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” is rarely heeded in the book-buying industry. Professional cover designers will ensure your cover is professional and fitting to your book.

Lastly, you’ll need to create a PDF in order to self-publish your book. This takes care of formatting. This will cost approximately $80, including blank and copyright pages. All in all, it’s a good deal.

2. When will it be “good enough?”

What a vague topic. When will my draft be publishing ready?

I hate to break it to you, but it never will, and there’s the science of psychology behind that!

As people grow older and gain new experiences, they naturally learn more. This knowledge accumulates until the person changes, usually over seasons in your life. These seasons are easier to recognize once you’re in a new one. For example, I just moved out of a season where I wrote my first and second novels. Editing them now, I realize how much my writing skills have grown since then. If I let another season pass before I publish, I’ll spend another year editing it.

Get to a point where you are happy with it. This will be a point after outside editors have come in and contributed, when you can look at it and not see major errors.

Plot twist! You’ll never know for sure when this is. Trust your instinct and your writing abilities. Nobody else will if you don’t.

3. Who will buy my book?

Once your book is on the market, perhaps a few people will randomly stumble across your book and believe it’s worthy enough to pull out their pocketbook. However, you’ll need to create an online platform to market your book. Depending on the audience you desire will depend on methods you use. For a younger audience, media like Instagram or Tumblr are ideal. For an older audience, check into using Facebook. Or MySpace.

Keep it up. Consistency is key.

In conclusion, don’t dismay if you can’t get accepted by a major publishing company. All is not lost. In fact, more is found. Now you don’t have someone else controlling what you say in your book. You hold the reins on your book, and essentially, history itself.

Happy writing, friends.

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