The Editor Becomes a Published Author

You might accuse me of indulging in shameless self-promotion in this blog, ‘The Editor Becomes a Published Author’, promoting my novel released just last week at the Queensland Writers Centre GenreCon2019 literary festival.

the editor becomes a published author. Photo of me at Brisbane book launch
The editor becomes a self-published author at GenreCon2019, Brisbane, November 2019

But I make no apologies. What?! Well, many authors struggle with self-promotion. Many of us are introverts and we suck at promoting our own work. My hope is that this post serves to help other authors take the leap into the great ocean of promotion.

What is the Difference Between a Writer and an Author?

It may seem like nitpicking to some, but it’s generally accepted that an author has published one or more written works, while a writer has not yet published any of their work.

How I Became an Author

I’ve been writing stories ever since I can remember. As a teenager, it was those awful self-indulgent journal entries full of angst and woe-is-me. I’ve kept most of what I’ve written throughout my life, but those journals hit the incinerator many years ago. Nevertheless, even they served a purpose, purging the frustrations and doubts of adolescent overload.

Over the years, a lot of my writings have been published, but much of it has been business writing under the auspices of corporations.

This year, finally, the editor becomes a published author with two of my own books, a nonfiction book on several aspects of the craft of writing, Ten Ways to Supercharge Your Writing (released March), and my historical fiction novel Winter in Mallorca, Turmoil to Triumph (released November).

How Does it Feel to be a Published Author?

As any of you who are already published authors know, it feels bloody wonderful! Similar maybe to the sense of accomplishment a climber experiences on reaching the summit of a challenging mountain – simply without the heavy breathing!

Why is that? Because writing and publishing is a mission.

There is much involved.

The Seed

First, you need that seed of an idea, the kernel of inspiration. Then that seed needs to germinate. If it’s a dud seed, it simply won’t. So it’s back to the drawing board.

The Writing

If it’s a productive seed, then the writing begins in earnest. Yet I won’t go into how the writing is done, because it can be so very different for each writer. And please don’t look to me as a role model: from seed to published book took me 24 years! Yes, you read right! I won’t go into the ‘why’ of such a long time frame, but I’m confessing it because again, perhaps it’ll serve to give a boost to other writers whose manuscripts have been languishing for years in the proverbial bottom drawer.

There is hope for you yet!

At the other end of the spectrum, I was recently working with a writer whose first 95,000-word novel took him around 13 months to write, including research overseas. He began writing the book in his spare time while running a business, then he sold his business and dedicated himself to writing, treating it like a job and working from 9 am to 4 pm each day. This is a short time to complete a novel of this length, especially with research involved, but in this case the writing was accomplished and the research thorough.

You might think 13 months sounds a long time. Well, in the writing world, it’s not.

Once the writing is done and you have a finished manuscript…well…what can I say? It’s not finished yet. You might even say it’s only just begun.

Revising

Now is the time for revising, revising, revising. In Stephen King’s words in his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (2000), it’s time to ‘… kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings’. What does this mean? It means being utterly ruthless with your own writing, recognising that it isn’t perfect, that you need to cull and prune (there’s that gardening metaphor again), and that it may be time for external input.

Show and Tell

On that, it’s very confronting to show your writing to others. Believe me, I know.

I attended the writers’ retreat in Spain in June this year (2019) to finish my novel (and another nonfiction book), and one of the activities was group critiquing. (You can read about the retreat here.) Until then, not another living soul had ever read my manuscript, not even my family. Yes, I’m an editor and a writing coach and I know all the things I should do, but what can I say? Guilty as charged!

Getting feedback on my writing from other serious writers was a hugely valuable experience. I was able to make some fairly minor changes for big improvements.

Some writers engage beta readers (not your family, please) to give them feedback before they finish their manuscript.

All the above is before editing, by the way.

Enter the Dragon

Aka editor.

Once you’ve redrafted your manuscript multiple times and got it in the best possible shape, it’s time to give it to a qualified editor for professional editing.

After the edit, you’ll review your manuscript and then probably need a final edit and proofread. You’ll then be ready to move to the next step.

Yes, there’s still much to do.

Publishing

You may choose to self-publish, submit your manuscript to traditional publishers, or investigate subsidy publishing. (You can read about the choices here.)

You Have a Book! What Now?

You have your book, your baby, hot off the press, in your hand, ready to show the world.

How do you get it out there?

The Great Ocean of Promotion

Book promotion is a whole area on its own, and I have to admit to still being a novice at it. I expect I’ll be learning a lot, very quickly. Despite being a novice, I have some ideas to share with you. I’m working on making a download available on my website. Meantime, get in touch and I’ll be happy to send you some tips.

Thank you for indulging my shameless self-promotion. I hope the post ‘The Editor Becomes a Published Author’ has also given you some insight into the process of writing and publishing.

References

King, Stephen, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 2012, Hodder & Stoughton, London.


Books by the Editor

If you love historical fiction, or you’re a musician with a penchant for Chopin, or you like a romance with a twist, or you’re looking for a gift for someone like this, ask me about Winter in Mallorca: Turmoil to Triumph. There’s a $20 special until 25 December when it reverts to $24.95 (postage applies beyond Gold Coast).

the editor becomes a published author. cover of Winter in Mallorca, Turmoil to Triumph

Want to improve your writing skills? Look no further than this entertaining, easy-to-read eBook Ten Ways to Supercharge Your Writing Skills: With bonus chapter on self-publishing. It’s just $11.95.

the editor becomes a published author. cover of ten ways to supercharge your writing skills

Help With Your Book from Go to Whoa (and anywhere in between)

Want help from go to whoa with your writing project? Never written a book before? Need to write a book to position yourself as an expert in your field? Check out WriteDesign Publications’ self-publishing packages.

Comments

  1. I’m so happy for you Gail. Congratulations on both books.I hope they both do well for you. I’m happy to cross promo if you’d like me to interview for my blog. Let me know. 🙂 x

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