On Self-Publishing: Getting My Novel to the Masses, Part 2

Continued from Part 1

In preparing to indie pub my novel, Leather to the Corinthians, I did copious amounts of research. It is an incredibly viable path that is continually affirmed by success. It’s never been easier to get your writing out there. The downside is that there is now a lot more competition for readership. The pressure is on, my fellow scribes.

That’s why it’s critical to have pristine copy of the highest quality – even if 50 Shades of Crap is fantastically poor writing. Remove the dollar signs from your starry eyes and examine why it is that you want to write. More than likely, you have a love of literature and have read many fine authors – and would like to join their ranks. Or perhaps you simply enjoy the role of storyteller. Perhaps you are an artist with words.

None of these aspirations can be found in 50 Shades. It’s a fluke.

I have a book that I wrote. There’s a lot of time invested in it. There’s a reason that I wrote it, and there’s a reason that I want people to read it. And I want it to be the best it can possibly be.

So I hired a professional to evaluate, edit, and proofread my manuscript. I met with her yesterday, and at the very least it was empowering.

I have expressed my inner doubts many times on this blog. I was going into the meeting with nervous expectation, and I was not sure what the diagnosis was going to be. Whatever form it would take, the feedback would be coming from a neutral third party whose work will ultimately be represented by mine through proxy. If my book sucked, she was going to tell me – and as all she does is work with writers and manuscripts, I knew that she would have much to compare it to. I did not pay her to tell me she liked it. I paid her to tell me why people might not like it.

I shouldn’t be so tough on myself, because she loved it. She got it. She knew ways to improve it. By the end of the meeting I felt better about my work than I have in a long time. I think I have something here.

The best news was finding out that there aren’t any deep foundational issues with the manuscript. No massive rewrites. If my book was a house, I need to move the furniture a little, hang up a couple of new pictures, and maybe pound a nail or two into a loose board.

I don’t have to tear out the plumbing or replace the roof.

Thank god for that, because I don’t know if I could do it. I have been through this manuscript far too many times. I’d probably just throw it out and start over. Glad that is not the case.

Some things that she identified that might help you as well:

Back-story – my characters need a bit more context. As surreal as the story’s world setting can be, my cast needs some support for motivation and action. Not much, just a few nuggets here and there will do the trick.

Repetitive language – I use “he said” and “she said” too much. I need to get more descriptive with my language when it comes to the dialogue. I heartily agree, my journalism background and my time in education (writing feedback) have caused me to be concise and efficient in my writing. It’s very difficult for me to switch gears for fiction. Prior to my work experience, my writing was very whiz-bang and super snappy. I’ve somewhat strangle that muse with my career path.

Syntax – a few times I took the hard road. I get awkward. Gotta tune that up.

With regards to the target market, much of what I listed yesterday ended up in her list as well. I took this as a sign that we are literally on the same page.

For Genre Categories, she identified the book as:

Truly, it is all of these things…which may be why I always have a hard time explaining it to people, ha!

With the genre and demographic information in place, I now have to plan for how the marketing for the book will go down. More research ahead for me, I’m afraid. I’ll be documenting my process here.

So now, I have go and pound a few nails in. Once I have the new content and the proofreading is done, we’ll shift to an administrative phase, and get all the paperwork in place. I’m also setting myself up as a publisher and I need a logo. If anyone wants to help me create it let me know. I’m going with ROOM 1331 for my publishing imprint. Please send me some sketches! I might be able to throw a few bucks your way.

30 thoughts on “On Self-Publishing: Getting My Novel to the Masses, Part 2”

  1. It’s always nice when extensive renovations aren’t required. Congrats!

    I feel your pain with the multiple-genres thing. My conversations usually go like this:

    Random Person: “So what genre is your book?”
    Me: “It’s Young Adult.”
    Random Person: “So it’s a romance?”
    Me: “Well, sort of. There’s also comedy. And action. And adventure. Oh, and it’s Sci-Fi. With some fantasy elements.”
    Random Person: *gets annoyed and leaves*

    1. I have had that conversation!
      My evaluator wrote up an overview paragraph, essentially back cover synopsis. She did a better job of describing my book than I have ever done.

      Genre mashups are the best, I am right with you on this!

  2. Rock on, very good news indeed. Congrats, another step in the process – thanks again for sharing! How did you find this person to read through your manuscript? It sounds like you would highly recommend it as part of the process? I’m definitely not there yet, but when I do get to a point where I need a neutral observer, with an educated eye, I might have to send you a note. Super stoked on your progress and enthusiasm!

    1. It was certainly a relief. Now to find the time for additional content. I found my evaluator through a personal referral — and that definitely seems to be the way to go.

      As bloggers, we stumble upon endless sites promising help with our writing, but many times I am dubious as to their true nature. There’s plenty of people who would like to take our money without any concern with actually helping us.

      When you get to the point where you are ready, contact me and I will set you up with her. Distance won’t matter. Also, as I am going through the soup to nuts process this year, I will have a better idea of how useful all of this was, and in turn, so will you.

      Beyond that, I cannot express how much I appreciate all of your comments and support in the time I have had that blog. The sense of community and the people I am meeting is beyond cool, and I consider you to be pretty much in my blogging inner circle. Thanks brother!

      1. Dude, I feel like I am in a blogging gang now – which is an awesome feeling since it has been several years since I was jumped out of my last one! Cool, thanks for the reply. I might just take you up on that – though I need to get there first. I agree, the blog world is full of, well let’s just say it spreads a spectrum, so it is really cool to connect with genuine people with real talent. Looking forward to following for the rest of the ride!

  3. The process sounds a bit emotionally exhausting, but will be well worth it in the end, I’m sure. Thanks for taking us along on your journey. Best of luck putting the finishing touches on it!

    1. It certainly has been! And it’s not even out yet :P When I get to actually selling the damn thing that should be interesting. I am not a natural self-promoter so the idea of hammering people all the time about my book is going to feel unnatural and intrusive. Thanks for following my blog!

  4. I know someone who could design a logo for you. Check out @Book_Love_Sarah on twitter. Cool and talented girl.

  5. I enjoyed this. I think it takes courage to show novels, in which your identity tends to get wrapped up, to anyone, let alone a complete outsider who has no natural sympathy with your work. All the more inspiring though when they’re so full of praise. Thanks for your blog; incidentally I too came to this through freshly pressed.

    1. I appreciate your thoughts. Nobody puts it out there like writers — not in any other art. Perhaps I’m biased, but I think it brings the greatest risk (emotionally) but the rewards are great as well. Awesome to meet you.

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