The process of writing and publishing a book – Part 1

Even though my first book was written six years back and the second one four years back, I remember the first book writing experience more clearly than I do the other.

I was just a college kid when I was writing that first one. But even at the time, I was mature enough to do thorough research about self-publishing processes, go through a beta-reading and feedback collection process, build this blog. Today, as I am standing at the precipice of publishing my third book, that experience has informed me so much.

I have always struggled to stay with one story for a long time. So to help with that discipline, I ensured that this time I had the plot outline written down before even I wrote one chapter of the book. Once I was happy with that, I started putting words to the book. I think I stopped when I was about 20K words, definitely bored with how things were going, not just in the book but perhaps my personal life as well.

I picked up the book again in April this year, with a target to finish the first draft by 30th April. I missed the deadline by just a day (still proud) and at 42K words (as against a target of 50K).

The next thing that I did was to research the best way to start penning down the second draft. In that process, I realised I need to have another outline of my first draft, given that the initial plot points had changed. This time, my outline looks something like this for each chapter:

Context | What does the main character want? | What is in her way of getting what she wants?

This activity took me couple of days, given that I am also grappling with the pandemic at home. Once that has been done, I have started writing the second draft, taking cues from the plot outline as to what might be improved in terms of the plot, character development etc.

My goal is to finish this draft by the end of May, or latest the first week of June. This phase will involve more research. Given that I’m writing a novel about IT professionals, one of them aspiring to write GMAT exams, I need to make sure I understand enough about such job roles/exam preparation process to build a convincing narrative. I have already started speaking to people who have work experience in these areas to help me out with this. Of course, it helps that I myself know the corporate world okay enough to write convincingly about it.

Once this phase is done, I feel the book should already be in a good shape to go out to beta readers. The feedback that I’d be expecting from my beta readers is mainly on the character development and the plot, whether the story reads smooth or not.

I installed Grammarly yesterday to help me with the basic grammar issues. It’s still the free version as I am comfortable with my command in English and won’t need any help with better sentence construction/style.

Hang on for Part 2 of this process, in which I will talk about the more business-aspect of the book creation process, which involves the book blurb, the cover page, promotion etc.

Are you a fellow author who has experience in self-publishing? Would you be interested to share your journey with me and the readers of this blog? Do reach out to me via the Comments and let’s connect.

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