My Writing Process
I recently posted a blog about my first e-book, Zen and The Art of Timetabling. Many have asked me about the process involved, in order to publish my book.
At first, I thought that was very easy to write. But then I tried to remember what my process actually was. I realised, to be honest, my process was very haphazard. In fact, I can learn from my chaos.
As I said before, I started the book more as rules and then kept going. I had no real process at the start, just writing. I suspect that is how many of us begin, just writing. The process started after I realised I had more than just a report, but not where I might have ended. After my first rough draft, the process began by mapping out what chapters I might need. This helped me construct the book and allowed me to focus on a variety of topics and subjects. Mind-mapping is key to any book I feel, it allows you to track characters, subject matter, scenes and more. Mine did not have characters as such, yet still needed that part.
Once I had completed the full first draft (I was unsure of how many times I would do this loop), I had on my hands a ‘product’. Again, looking back it is hard to describe anything I did next as a process. But I feel people can use my experience as the foundations of a process.
Here are some of the things I looked into after I finished my first draft;
Looked into editors and proof-readers
Looked into publishers
Looked into self-publishing
Looked at computer publishing software
Looked at sites such as Amazons KDP, Smashwords etc
Listed pros and cons of the above
Made notes on various companies based on information from the Internet, writing magazines and the Writers Artist Yearbook.
Set out my needs based on the above (what did I want?)
Set a budget
Make my decision
That is not what many would recognise as a process, however, it formed I guess the basis of my process when I look back. Being my first book, I did not have any idea about where this would take me. I know now I can do this a lot better given the experience. If I was to map out a process it would look something like this;
- The Idea
- Which idea are you going to write about?
- The Synopsis
- This gives you the scope, creates the boundaries and can be used later
- The Map
- This shows you the paths, the characters, places and let’s you time travel. It can be as simple as the chapter headings as I used. I added a brief note which made it simple to expand or move information as needed.
- The Draft
- Sounds obvious and it is. It’s the place at which you decided to go forward, rewrite (you will edit later) or maybe save for another day.
- The publication route
- So you now have reached the point where you want to publish. The list I mentioned I would say is a one-time in-depth deal. You can do that before you write. What this point means is are you self-publishing or finding a publisher.
- The Edit
- I know I am stating the obvious but you can either do this yourself or spend some money and get a professional independent view. I did the latter and it proved to me I had something worth publishing. You will revisit this a few times.
- The Publisher
- If you pick self-publishing there are two routes here; you do all the work or you go to a company that will publish you. This is different from a publisher. You can just create a Word or Scriber document and place it onto the web. You may get something from it or not. You won’t have an ISBN, maybe a cover, maybe some web presence. That’s your choice. If however, you pick a self-publishing company, they can help get you an ISBN, create a cover, place your book in the right spots. With the company I used YPS, I retained all rights both as the author and publisher. My book sits in the British Library (very proud) and I have a presence on the web.
- The Marketing plan
- Just getting your book into Amazon or YPS Bookstore is one thing. You need a plan to sell it, push it to people, social media, a web site and whether you want hard copies or e-book.
I guess I could write a book on how I wrote the book. It feels like I have written so much more since I completed this. Yet I still am unsure of a fool-proof process that I used. What I have detailed is my best remembrance of all I did. There were hundreds of hours spent re-editing, checking proofs, approving covers, writing my biography and synopsis. Even writing this and something for two magazines has taken time.
Would I do this again? Yes. Have I learnt what to do better next time? Yes. Would I encourage anyone with a book in mind to try this? Yes.
I hope this helps.