Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part Two

If you missed out on the first part of this new series you can catch it here. I know this should have gone out yesterday but technical problems left me frustrated and on the verge of throwing the computer through the window yesterday lol.

So, you finally have an idea for a story, you sit at the computer and begin writing so far so good but then you find the next thing that people say to you.

Well, anyone can write a book, it’s just words.

Now, to an extent this is true. anyone can write a book but let’s look at what actually goes into writing a book that people really don’t understand. First the time! I don’t know about most of you reading this but my WPM (words per minute) have dropped significantly since I learnt to type at school. On a good day, I can type 250 words every fifteen minutes, that means 1000 words per hour assuming the ideas are flowing and I don’t need to stop to think or consult notes. The average fantasy book is 95,000 – 120,000 words this means to write one book you are looking at 95 – 100 hours. Now, there will be people who will look at that and say, well that’s okay you can write a book a month, and yes if you are lucky enough to be able to stay home and make a living writing you might, but most of us still have day jobs to accommodate to fund our writing. Personally, I am lucky to write 5 – 10 k words per week, that means if nothing else happens to slow me down or distract me that the first draft will take three to four months.

It’s only writing down words in sentences, it can’t be that hard!

Yes, I have actually had that said to me, and to an extent it is true, or should that be it is true for the first draft. What a lot of people fail to realise is just how many different edits you do on books, you don’t just write the perfect book, hit send and it is out there in the world. Generally, I edit a book around four times more in some places if it needs it, there are read throughs checking for continuity, and any holes in the plot, there are general grammar and spelling checks. I also use an automated voice reader programme to let me hear it back with helps me pick on things spell check misses, those silly errors where you type on instead of no.

If you are lucky you can afford to pay proofreaders to pick up on some issues, pay editors to fix them, oh, and remember to check what your editor offers, because you may need to hire more than one. If one only does general edits then you need a second to do line edits.  Now, if like me you don’t make enough to pay for all these things, then there is help out there. I use the free version of Grammarly to pick up on some of my mistakes but be advised that it often wants to change things that you want to write for creative effect. Use the word checker on your computer and check the settings to see what you can turn on to help you.

All these edits take time so the chances are if you are doing it all yourself you will be doing well to get out one or two books a year, if you have editors you can maybe get a couple more out, but just words, I don’t think so.

Next week we will look at what happens once, you have a story more or less ready to go.

Advertisements

Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part One

I just want to state categorically that I had been thinking about this series before I read the brilliant post over on Samantha The Reader’s blog you can read her post here.  Her post is aimed at the advice writers receive about their craft mine is about the things we hear when we mention we have published a book and the realities of being an indie author.

Everyone Tells Me I Should Write a Book/I Always Wanted To Write A Book

I have lost track of the times I have had this response from people when you mention that you have written a book. First, let me say I firmly believe anyone can write a book, I don’t think you need a certain educational level, you don’t need a degree and you don’t need to have taken creative writing course but there are some things you do need to have. While I do think anyone can write a book, however, I dont believe everyone should try to write books or that everyone is capable of writing a good book.

There are so many aspects of the writing process people simply do not understand or do not want to see and this series is about that who process, the misconceprtions and overall the hard work that is involved with producing a half decent novel.

Where do you start?

There is a good chance if you are asking that question it means one of two things, you are either not ready or you are over thinking it.

If you do not have an idea for a story you want to tell then you are not ready to write, most stories start with an idea, a persistant nagging idea in your head which plagues you at random moments demanding you take notice of it. This is the first part of writing and it is the one that cannot be taught you either, have this type of creative imagination or you don’t and without it no matter how much you might like the idea of writing a book your really will not be able to. Don’t get me wrong you can put word on paper, write cohesive sentnces but if you do not have those ‘voices’ in your head that demand you listen to the totally weird and wonderful offerings they decide to throw at you as you are trying to get to sleep then the chances of writing something original and captivating are very slim.

The second group of people are the over thinkers, these are the ones who believe you must know every element of the story, and have everything completely planned, organised, and  ready before they start writing their masterpiece. In some cases they boos they could produce might indeed by pieces of litarary brilliance but we will never know because much like having children there is never a ‘right’ moment. There are times when it may be better, finacially, healthwise , timewise, fitting in with a day job wise but if you are waiting for all the starts to align it is probably not going to happen. Even if, by some miracle, it happen then the problem comes that stories are organic, they grown on their own and refuse to be constrained by our plot outlines. If you have an idea by all means outline if you need to before you start writing but don’t let the idea fester in your head.

If anyone has enjoyed this then let me know in comments and next week we will talk about actually putting pen to paper.

Thoughts On Thursday – The Learning Curve!

You write a book, you put it up on Amazon, your done, right? Wrong!

I have decided to run this, a new series of posts on a Thursday discussing the things I learn about the self publishing journey as I go along.

There are so many things now that you have no idea about when you start out as a self published author, things that you might think should be simple but oh no there are a thousand pitfalls awaiting you. So what I am going to do over the next few weeks is discuss some of the things I have learnt about so far on my publishing journey, some mistakes have been more costly than others.

Lets start with a pretty basic one, a business card. Everyone who has any type of business needs to have a card they an hand out, you can get them from a thousand printers on line and in your local area but getting it right is a whole different ball game, and one I got wrong the first time round.

2016-11-02

Now at first glance you might look at it and wonder what is wrong, it looks okay but then think bout what it tells you.

It tells you I have written one book, the book featured on the card, a ghost story book, it does not tell you that my novels I am realising are a completely different genre, or even that I have other books.

It gives you some information about the places you can find me on social media but misses out the website, now to be fair I did not have the website when I designed these but because I was naive I ordered a few hundred cards I then had a website and no one knew about it and I had a pile of cards so did not feel I could buy new ones until I used the ones I had up.

The next thing was the price and quality, I could have bought them cheaper but I heard from various sources that some of the ‘offers’ I had seen advertised turned out to be poor quality, I found somewhere I thought was fairly cheap and spent extra on the glossy finish and thicker card, and they were good in that respect, but there really are so many companies now that it is impossible to check them all out so a couple of things I learnt along the way…

  • Ask other people, both personally and online about the companies they have used, most people if you ask politely and respectfully will be happy to help with information like this.
  • Go onto the various sites and take a look, run through the process of designing or uploading your design, see how easy their system is to use, check out the pricing options and shipping remember just because you put the stuff into the computer does not mean you are obliged to buy them just stop before you hit the pay button.
  • Check out on their website if they offer samples, I sent to two different companies for sample packs, these give you an idea of not only the size of their cards but generally other products like flyers etc you may wish to consider at a later date and allows you to feel the different card qualities and finishes before you commit to ordering.
  • Make sure you save your design somewhere safe on your computer, just because you order from a place once does not mean you are tied to them, I would suggest ordering the smallest amount option for your first order, you can always order more at a later date if you are satisfied with the product and service.

So as you may have glanced on my vlog this is my new business card…

1-7

Now the one thing you might notice I have included on this one is a phone number and this is another tip, at a small cost you can get a skype phone number, the great thing about this is you can literally set yourself business hours, I am at my desk Monday to Friday mornings most weeks, I tend to do blog posts, read emails, for the first couple of hours each day then afternoons and evenings are reserved for friends, family and writing. The great thing about the skype number is it goes to the computer and means I do not have to give out my personal mobile or my home phone, I chose to add it because as a chose dark colours for the background and a glossy finish, scribbling it on individual cards as need was not an option, plus if anyone abuses the number it is very easy to block using skype as I have to do several times a week with scam contacts. I would also say if you try to contact anyone via a skype number make sure from the message you send they know who you are and why they should add you to their contacts. Generally  business cards ware only given out to business contacts so unwanted calls should not be too much of an issue.

Okay so hope someone might have found something useful in this post and I shall do another next week if you enjoyed it.