This will be a series of posts. It includes my experience of becoming a debut author and my trials and tribulations along the way with lessons learned, tips and other fun stuff.
First off, let's start with the writing. I got the concept for Culture Shock, my debut YA paranormal novel, from a nightmare. The nightmare was so intense and real. It left me freaked out for the rest of the night, but I wrote down the entire nightmare and it became the climax of Culture Shock. You need to have great ideas/concepts and jot down everything. Any idea about the plot, scenarios, characters, settings, etc. EVERYTHING!
It took me 3 months to write the first draft of Culture Shock. Most people find that shocking, but it just flowed. The story was literally spewing out of my mind and onto the page. Where I needed more clarification, I researched. This was the easy part for me.
Next...my dreaded nemesis...editing. Oh, editing how I loathe thee. Even though it only took three months to write the first draft, it took 8 months to edit it to where I wanted it. I like to separate the creative process from the technical process. I do not edit while I'm writing. Never. It will screw up your creative juices, drink them dry, and you'll be left second guessing everything. Don't edit while writing your first draft; you'll only bug yourself out.
I probably went through the draft 28 times before I felt it was right for my proofreaders. I chose four people that were close to me, but little did I know, I chose the wrong people for proofreading. They would tell me they loved it, but I have yet to have one of them tell me an error or inconsistency. It wasn't until right before publishing that I received some real feedback.
Oh wait, I take that back...one proofreader told me I spelled 'crash' wrong on p.78. One error though there were many in a book of nearly 700 pages. Wow!
Next, I tried the traditional publishing path. I researched agents. Even made a darn spreadsheet of them and queried almost every single one of them that would except my genre. I did hours upon hours of research and queried so many agents, but it was futile. They weren't interested. I can sleep at night knowing that out of the 500,000-250,000 submissions each agency receives a year, they usually only publish 5, so I didn't feel so bad.
So I decided to self-publish with a twist. I started my own publishing company, TNT Publishing, LLC. Yes, as of right now I'm the only author, but I plan to take on more one day. For right now, it's just me.
I was a little down about now being picked up by an agent, but being the person I am, I always look on the bright side. I have freedom to be as creative as I'd like and I get to choose my title and cover. I won't have to fight to keep a certain scene in my book. I didn't have to answer to anyone and it felt great. I could be as artistically free as I'd like, which should be how art is developed with a freedom mixed with passion and strong feelings, not some business venture.
So now came more research. How to self-publish...tune in tomorrow for the second part of this series, The Birth of a Book.
***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.
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