When you’re self-publishing YOU are everything. The editor, designer, publishing exec, agent, distribution director, sales manager, tea boy, and the young girl that brings sandwiches around at lunchtime. So, when it’s time to decide to launch your book it falls on your desk. The same desk that’s been writing the bloody thing for the last three months.
I’ve just finished the 2nd/3rd draft of my second novel Plaster Scene (still thinking about the title) after a lengthy period of re-writing. It was one of those – I’d written it two years ago and in the mean time I’ve just developed further as a writer. I wanted to make wholesale changes and this took ages. The temptation now is that because I’ve finally got to the end, I want to rush it out without spending the necessary diligence on improving it’s quality.
I have a clear process that I’m aiming to follow with this first lot of books so that I can tell for sure whether it’s the best way or not. I’m brand new at all of this so all I can do at the moment is follow the consensus of advice from more experienced authors. This is the process:
- 1st Draft – Rock n’ Roll, just let it fly
- 2nd Draft – Polish the turd
- Beta-Readers – Give it wings
- 3rd Draft – Forming the masterpiece
- Proof-read – The microscope of perfection
- Launch – Let the good times roll
The re-write I’ve just completed is step 2 in this list and that’s what makes it so demoralising. I’ve exported it to my kindle, I’m reading it on a Kindle, so the temptation is to let others do the same – but hold back there, son. Thankfully I trust the process and I know that if I follow the process then I’ll end up with something of a better quality than if I didn’t. This is my new career, I don’t want to offer up some perceived output from a hobby.
Luckily I’m very good at holding back from temptation and this will be no different. But it does indicate how long this process actually takes in reality. Let me show you what I reckon the length of time should be that’s apportioned to each step in the process.
- 1st Draft – 2 months
- 2nd Draft – 6 weeks
- Beta-Readers – 1 month
- 3rd Draft – 1 month
- Proof-read – 1 month
- Launch – 2 weeks
This is a total of 7 months for a full-length novel concentrating on nothing else and working on it full-time. I hope that the further into this career you get the shorter you can make some of these steps because I know that I’m on a steep learning curve right now. But still, you can understand why some self-publishers throw it out early and just see what happens.
What do you think of the process I’m following? Does it make sense or could you suggest some streamlining that can take place?