Writing a Novel is Like Starting a Long Term Relationship

Photo  © Jhayne 

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing a long format story. I recently wrote a short 20,000 word Novella and self-published it via Amazon and Smashwords. The process was daunting at times. I experienced a lot of ups and downs, from challenges with grammatical errors to the success of seeing the first copy sold on-line. I learned a lot about formatting, publishing, and the challenges of being an indie author. I set my expectations accordingly when I published my work. I sold a couple virtual copies, and even had some decent reviews via Amazon – but for all intensive purposes the book never took off. I did promote my work, and even submitted it to some magazines and on-line book reviewers. It’s definitely not the best thing I will ever write, though I feel as though there is some value in it. I think it’s perfectly okay for an artist to admit when they have created something exceptional, as well as mediocre. Being honest with yourself as an artist will only improve your craft.

I’m probably in the red for the amount of money I’ve invested into the creation, formatting, and promotion of my book. I’m okay with this. I never wrote a book to get rich. I write because it’s one of my passions. Very few people can make a living out of what they truly love to do. It’s a goal, one which we should all strive for.

The publishing industry has changed drastically in the past ten years. Authors do not need a publisher, or an agent to sell their book or content. Though the e-Book market is saturated with indie authors. Through websites like Amazon and Smashwords users are able to upload their own content and sell their work to readers in various formats. I pursued this option for several reasons; one, it was the easiest and fastest way of getting my work out there, and secondly a Novella isn’t something most agents and publishers are interested in. It’s a niche market.

I completed an Author Interview for an Indie Author Blog around the time I published my Novella. One of the questions asked was if I was interested in writing another book, and when? I said that I needed a moment to breathe as I had just ended what I liked to call a long term relationship with a piece of writing. The relationship between an artist and their work can be turbulent at the best of times. It’s unhealthy to end a relationship and immediately begin another. It is necessary for an individual to pause, reflect, and analyse the experience. If  people do not give themselves the necessary time to reflect, mistakes may go unnoticed. Growth may be inhibited by a person’s ego. Some of the questions I’ve asked myself is, why didn’t the book sell better than it did? What did I do well? and lastly, what can I do in the future to improve my writing? I’ve developed a way of thinking to keep my ego in check, not that I consider myself an egotistical person. I am generally open to the possibilities that I may be wrong in almost all situations. I give every person the benefit of the doubt that they may have more knowledge, experience, or understanding than I do. People who are closed minded think they are the best suited, smartest, and usually the most qualified person to have an opinion on a specific topic.

As I write this post I have begun the process of writing a new Novel. I have supports in place to make sure I attain this goal. I recently downloaded a program called Scrivener. The program helps structure a story by visually arranging characters, chapters, and the plot. There’s a ton of other cool features that I haven’t figured out yet. When I wrote my Novella I used Word for the entire process. I was flying blind and relied on paper notes to help create a structure. Part of the process that scared me about beginning another long format project was the organization needed to complete such a project. I feel confident that I have the necessary tools to make the writing process a smoother transition this time. My current goal is 40,000 words. By breaking the book down into parts it’s approximately 3,500 – 4,000 words x 10-12 Chapters. One of my challenges I face as a writer is my word count. I prefer to write simple to the point sentences. Elaboration isn’t a challenge for me, though I tend to steer clear of long winded sentences that amount to nothing more than fluff.

My goal once completing the work is to find an agent and share my work with a larger audience. Publishers generally do not deal with unknown writers. Getting an agent is essential for any writer looking to sell their work to a publishing company. I’d like to share this experience with people on WordPress. I will upload some of the content once I feel as though I have made significant headway. For anyone thinking about writing a Novel or Manuscript, Scrivener is an easy to use program that helps compile and present your work in an aesthetically pleasing way. Presentation is important, but what’s more important is that writers concern themselves with writing. That is why I’m extremely excited to be using Scrivener.

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