Young Adult Fiction Writer

One or Two Things I’ve Learned About Self-Publishing.

First things first. I’m not an expert. Hell, I’ve never even taken an official writing class. I’m just this guy in New Hampshire with a brilliant wife, an awesome musically talented teenage son, and the world’s cutest dog who has happened to finally, finally, finally finish writing a novel. It’s not even the book I set out to write. It’s a book I wrote when I got stuck in the muddle, I mean middle, of the other one. But whatever the case, I typed those six wonderful letters. T-H-E E-N-D. Then I did a little dance.

And then I thought, ‘Now what?’ And at that point the only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to go through the whole query rejection query rejection thing. I also knew that if I secured an agent who secured a sale, I was probably looking at a year before I held a fresh off the press book in my hot little hands. And I didn’t want to wait that long. Why? You ask.

Well, the answer is simple. My wife and I had a bit of a chat, and in the end, she agreed to be the sole breadwinner while I pursued a writing career. I told you she was great. And she’d already done this once before while I completed my M.A. degree, and I don’t even use it anymore. If you’re curious, it was in film and media. Another of my passions, along with writing, movies, music, and reading. And from reading, I learned to write. Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry all of it teaches you something. I’m a little weird though because I consider poets novelist. It’s just they don’t need one hundred thousand words to get their point across. Anyway, I’ve gone a little astray here. Where was I? Oh, THE END, dancing, now what?

So being the impatient, and unemployed, fool that I am I decided to just do it all alone. But you can’t. Well, that’s not one hundred percent true. You can. It’s just probably not going to be a very damn[1] good book. If my research has taught me anything it’s that there are thousands of crap self-published books available on Amazon and other platforms. I mean, there are many articles on the web that would direct me to put this in a pamphlet called ‘how to self-publish’ and sell it online. Sure, I might sell a few copies, but no one will ever buy something I write ever again. And that’s not who I am. [2]  But all this aside the question remains, what have I learned? Well today I think we’ll try to keep it to editing. I won’t promise I’ll succeed though. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The first thing I’ve learned is by the time you are ready to publish, you’ll be freaking sick of reading your own book. But the second, and more important thing is, putting out a quality product isn’t cheap. Or quick. Sure, some of you might be experts at editing (both developmental and copy), and be awesome proofreaders, as well as accomplished cover artists, and book interior design, with an astonishing grasp of marketing. Most of us aren’t, though. So, if your goal is a polished book, you will need professionals. At the barest of minimums, I suggest three.

  1. A copy or line editor. The good ones will help with the flow of the writing and find all your irritating quirks you were unaware of.
  2. A professional cover artist. Sure, you can just go buy a cover off any of the many websites that say, “make your own professional looking book cover in minutes,” and be done. But do you want a professional ‘looking’ cover, or an actual professional cover? Besides, with a professional cover artist, you’ll get a cover specifically designed for your book, not one that’s kinda close.
  3. A proofreader. They will make sure everything is ready for printing. No repeated sentences, missing punctuation or letters, and other kinds of error that may have slipped into your work during the editing process.

All this takes money and time. So far, I have spent about sixty-five hundred bucks. I expect it will grow to about nine to ten thousand. I finished Year Zero back in early November. It is not until now that I feel safe picking a release date, and that date is close to three months away. And I’ve already hired someone to do much of the above work. And I’m still uncertain I’ll make that release date. If I need to move it, I won’t hesitate. Why? Because if I’m going to ask people to give me their money and time. I owe them the best put together package I can give them, so I regret not a dime spent or a second of waiting. And there’s a lot of waiting. But that’s a great time to start work on the next book. Or a blog post.


Anyway, if you have questions, put them in the comments and I’ll answer them. Also, if I don’t know the answer, I’ll say so. I won’t make up some crap[3]

[1] Mark Twain said, “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” But I’m my own editor and I like the damn.

[2] The only rule in my house, as I’ve said on Twitter, is “Don’t be an asshole.”

[3] See house rule in previous footnote.

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