Thoughts on Writing Books

As you may know, the past couple of weeks have been unusual (read my previous blog to understand more) and my writing time has been limited to during naptimes and after bedtimes. In spite of the limited time, I finished the first draft of my second novel and have made really good progress on the third.
What’s next after the first draft, you ask? The foundation is laid; now to build something really nice on top of it. I have to do a rewrite. During the course of writing the second novel, I found I needed an extra character and needed to take out a few others that didn’t seem to matter much in the story, so there’s still a lot of work to be done. I need to take a police officer to lunch to ask about some of the technicalities in this book. Fact checking, that’s the term for it. I want things to be plausible and correct. As I was peeling potatoes for lunch today, I thought of a slightly different ending that I like better. The wheels never stop turning.
After the second rewrite, I will use a technique I learned from Margie Lawson at the West Texas Writers Academy called deep editing. I color code each part of the story and see what’s missing. Deep editing takes a lot of time, but it helps immensely in telling the story in an interesting manner.
After my deep editing and another smaller rewrite, I’ll send it to a beta reader who will give me a review of what he/she thinks of the book. I’ll use those suggestions to refine what I have written. While this is going on, I’m consulting with a graphic artist about a cover design.
Then comes the part where I have to have the most patience: copyediting. This service is a big monetary output for me, but a good copyeditor is well worth the money. This person checks flow, character development, redundancies, continuity, and things like that. Last time, this process took four months; I hope it takes less time for this book.
Next, I have a proofreader go through a hard copy of the book to make sure all the words are spelled correctly, punctuation is correct, and grammar is correct. I help with that, but it’s best to have fresh eyes on it. I know what it’s supposed to say and that’s often what my eyes read. Good rule of thumb for writers: always have someone else proofread your work.
After that it’s ready for formatting and publishing. Once it’s on Amazon and Kindle, then it’s time for marketing. For me, that’s the hardest part. Books don’t just sell themselves; authors have to promote and sell their own work. I’m glad I like to meet people; otherwise, I’d be in the wrong business!
I go through all of that work to make sure my books are the best I can make them. I want to be known for quality books. Most of all, I hope my readers enjoy them.