Saturday, July 12, 2014

What I Love About Writing, and What I Don't

I love to write! I love to write and share my stories with people. I love to reread my own adventures and imaginings. I love the idea of reaching a lot of people with my stories. I love to inspire people to know about the world the way I see it, and I love to hear about how my stories and thoughts have inspired people. 

When I turn my thoughts toward publishing I run out of steam. Publishing has always felt like a daunting task to me. If I could get up every morning and write something, I would be happy. However, I wish to reach a greater number of people with every new, good piece I write. For that, I will have to become comfortable with the publishing game.

My latest novel wants to be published. I have self-published one book in my life, “The Southern Flying Squirrels of Point Pelee National Park.” The other things I have published in my life were published through companies I worked for, or contracts I had taken on. So, I have relatively little understanding of where to go with my novel and how to achieve my goal of putting my story into the hands of lot of people. 

For help with this I turned to a friend of mine, a published author for support and guidance. He directed me toward some helpful online blogs.  Think Like a Publisher, by Dean Wesley Smith, and The Business Rusch, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A cursory read of these informative pages brought me a practical glance at what it means to publish today. 

Gone are the days of industry editors who receive your amazing manuscript in the mail, read it once right through the night, and call you up the next morning, because your story is bound for glory as a best seller. Few writers ever made it that way to begin with. The bottom-line is, best sellers are not written over night. They are shaped into being by persistent, business minded writers, perhaps now more than ever before. 

I think it was Jack Canfield (Write a Book and Get it Published) who coached me to set a clear goal of what I want to achieve with publishing my book. I want to sell my book. I want to make enough money from my book to feed myself good food and keep a roof over my head. I also want to improve my home and establish a reputation in the world as a writer whose stories are exciting and well worth the read.

These goals in themselves are not concrete. I need to have a specific publishing goal. How many books do I want to sell? How am I going to sell them? Who I am going to attempt to reach with them? Who is my audience? What channels lead to that audience? How much work am I willing to put in? Is this novel in the right shape to achieve such goals?

One way to get some of those questions answered is to start sharing and marketing the novel now. It is finished on so many levels, but the work really has just begun. Each person I share my story with will have insight into its readiness for publishing. Getting out to regional writers groups, having people read it and reflect its treasures and pitfalls, and getting a pulse on how it appeals to readers are all important steps to shaping the story into a deliverable package.

Few people have read this novel to date. While there is still so much editing to do, much honing and shaping to go, I am now entering the sharing phase. What are some of the many ways writers can go about getting into the sharing phase with a novel? I would love to hear from other authors about this. Please feel free to share your experiences and or leave comments below.

~Robbie Sea

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