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From Paper to Hardback, The Writing Process for Books (Self Publication)

Updated on February 2, 2020

As children, most people want to be famous. We all had our ideas of how we were going to get others to notice us. Some wanted to be actors or actresses, some wanted to sing for the world, and others wanted to write books for others to read. Sadly most don’t achieve these goals, either by growing out of them, quitting halfway through the process or by failing spectacularly.

Book writing is a great profession if you love to create worlds and are ready to work hard. Even then, you need to be prepared for a slight disappointment. Just because you wrote a good book, doesn’t mean that you automatically get a movie for your book. If you’re still here after that warning, great! That means that you write because you like to write, even if you don’t get the recognition that you might want. Either way, don’t worry. I will help walk you through your outlining, your first draft, the proofreading, the editing, the rewriting, the professional editing, the final edit, the publication process, and finally, how to market your book throughout. That way, you put your best foot forward.

Outlining can be tricky as it works differently for each author. I personally use the bullet method, some use plotlines, others use cards, and others don’t use one at all. One of the ways that I have heard it was that some authors are Planners, some are Seat-of-Your-Pants Writers, and some are a mixture of the two called Pansters. Here are just a few ways to get you started with outlining.

The Plotline Method

This is the outline you most likely used to use in your childhood schooling. It could also be referred to as the mountain story and it is very similar to The Hero’s Journey. It’s a very basic way of doing it as it focuses on the main points. This format starts with the Status Quo, then it moves onto the Rising Action before hitting the Climax. After the Climax, there’s the Falling Action and the Resolution. Fill out these points in a chart and you will have a base for where your book is headed.

The Card Method

On the other hand, the Cards Method goes for more points. It can be as detailed or as simple as you need it to be. Write the points on cards and put them in order of where they need to go. Chapter number cards can be placed into separate the plotline into more manageable chunks.

The Drawing Method

The drawing method relies on charts and such to plot out where the book goes. For it, you can draw out timelines and settings or you can make little comics for each chapter. The drawings don’t have to be detailed as they just need to capture the essence of what the scene is supposed to be.

The Bullet Method

This format is like the card method but you primarily use sheets of paper or a computer to form lists. As stated before, I use this method and I take the most extensive notes. All plot points make its way into the list and as I work mainly on the computer, I can rearrange the notes however I need. You can use it however you need to though.

Again, this isn’t the complete list. If you have another way that you use, and it works for you, great! Use that method. If you haven’t figured a form of outlining that works for you, go ahead and try different ones until you find the right fit for you. This, of course, includes not outlining at all!

Next, we have the first draft. The first draft is the most important piece of writing. After all, you can’t do any of the other steps after this. You can start on paper or on the computer. It doesn’t really matter as eventually, you need to type the book up. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it shouldn’t be the best thing in the world as it is better to edit your book as your writing gets better as you go along.

Proofreading is the second step in writing. The difference between proofreading and editing is the specifics that you focus on. When you proofread, you look mainly at the plot. Does the plot make sense? Does it flow well? How are the chapter’s lengths? Make notes as you go along, as you may not remember what you need to do to the book later.

Editing goes along with proofreading, as editing also makes the book better. Editing focuses on grammar and word choice. This can take a while as you have to go line by line to edit the book. I would suggest using a pen and paper to edit as you can physically see where the edits were and how they play into the bigger parts in the book.

Next, we have to rewrite your book. When you think of this, of course, it sounds crazy. I mean, you just proofread and edited your book, so why would you rewrite it? You won’t really be rewriting the book, but at this point, you should have gotten some parts of the book to rewrite or add on too.

Now its time to get your book professionally edited. Yes, this step is important and more importantly, it needs to be edited by a qualified professional. It shouldn’t just be a random family member who seems to know what they’re doing. Most people who self publish want to skip this step, but I can tell you now, even the most professional authors get their books edited.

Now we are in the final stretch. The final edit is something you do on your own or with friends. You want to make your book the best that it can so go through the book with your critic levels turned up to fifty. Pass the book out to friends and ask them about it after. Try to get your book formatted properly in this stage and get your cover situated.

Finally, we come to the last step, publication. Self-publishers have two big brands that they could go through. The first one is Amazon. There you can get your book put into a paper/hardback format, an ebook format, or an audiobook format. The next one is Barnes and Noble. While you can only do with paper/hardback or ebook, the books sell well and they can become bestsellers.

Then, relax! You just accomplished something that most of the population could only dream of. Your book will start selling and you can sit back and wait for all of those sweet royalties come in. Well, that is… until you have to do it again for book two.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Gracelyn Apple


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