I've just typed the finishing words to my work in progress and that first draft is done. Isn't it amazing that only now does the real work begin.
When sitting down to write a book, you'd think getting the story down on the page would be the hard part. It is a struggle, don't get me wrong, but the real hard work begins when you start to shape that story into something that is ready for others to read. I always thought my story made so much sense along the way. After all, I just wrote down what my characters shared with me.
Those are just the start of the work. It seems there are always plot holes, subplots started but never finished, tasks hinted at but never realized. Time to streamline all of that into what is important to progress the story and what can be removed. Then there are those parts that are very cool and need to be fleshed out in the rest of the story.
My next issue during the editing process is cutting out description. In this case less is often more, but I tend to get long winded and want to describe the scene in detail. I often forget that my readers have an imagination and it is better to let them fill in some of those details to help draw them into the story and make it feel as if they are participating. Don't you connect better to stories that you feel you are part of because you are adding in the details that you see rather than always being told what you are seeing?
So now you've done a lot of editing. You've tightened and sharpened. You've clarified bits and cleared up confusion. Time to hand it off to beta readers or editors to see what someone else sees. You'd think this was when you'd get to relax. Right? Wrong.
For self-published writers, like myself, you still have more work ahead. What about a book cover? Have you got a title? Are you creating buzz that your work is nearing completion and will be available soon? Are you ready to format your work for self-publication? A lot of these issues I didn't even realize I needed to worry about until I was ready to put my book out there.
Once my book was released I realized all the marketing would fall on my shoulders. I don't know a lot about marketing and have taken a learn as you go path. If you can get tips and hints ahead of time be sure to put them to work as soon as possible, it can make a difference. Finding people to review your book is important and the sooner you can line them up, the better. Good reviewers often have a long waiting list and you want to get yours on that list as soon as possible.
Another thing I didn't ever think about before I'd already released my book was links to my blog, website and information on where to find other writing I have done. I also never thought about putting a teaser to other work and especially to the next book in the series. I have seen other self-published authors working together -- if you are in the same genre -- to promote each other at the end of their books. These are all additional touches that I think can make a difference in helping to grow who you are as a writer and building a fan base.
Time for me to get back to work on some of these. As they say, there's no rest for the wicked.