Hello all! I’m here again as your happy helper in your writing/publishing journey.
Last month, I shared with you my trek through figuring out my writing goals and how setting goals sets you up for success. Today, I will be sharing the other half of my journey with you: publishing, and the people I met after I was (mostly) finished with my part of the publication process. And, as the title states, why you need other people before and after you hit the “publish” button.
You may be the author of your stories, and you may have all the control in what you do or don’t put in your books. Sure, you get all the creative decisions in what you write, and yes, you may (if self-publishing) have the final say for your covers. But, you cannot publish a manuscript without other people.
Why not? I guess you could publish a book without other people, but you can’t publish a good one without other people. And remember, I’m saying people…not a person. You need more than one person to help you on your journey.
Here are a few reasons for getting others involved in the publishing process:
1) There are some scenes or characters in your book that may not fit in, even after you’ve cut out a lot from your manuscript. Often, you won’t be able to see if one or more scenes/characters don’t fit in because you’ve grown accustomed to seeing that scene or character.
Another thing that happens is that some scenes you write, or some things the characters say, may not make sense from a reader’s perspective. The reason for this is that you already know everything about your story. You must keep in mind that your readers do not. Both of these are what beta readers are for.
2) You WILL NOT catch each and every typo in your manuscript. There is just no way to do that. This one actually has some scientific reason behind it, and though I can’t remember where I read this, or quote it exactly, I can paraphrase what it said. The reason you miss a lot–and I mean a lot– of typos is because you know what you meant to say. And since your brain is hard-wired to take the easiest path, and you already know what you meant to say, your brain fills in the missing word(s). Thus, you can easily miss hundreds of typos. At least I did. Thankfully, I had three sharp proofreaders to catch those typos.
3) Sometimes, you just don’t know your grammar. Short and simple–get a line editor. I had two of these.
4) You won’t be able to publish a well-written book if you don’t have a copy editor. This person is someone who makes sure all your facts are correct, and that your characters are consistent in the way they act. A copy editor will also check for believability of your story.
The above reasons for why you need people involved in your writing journey are only half the fun of why you need community when you write. The things I’ve told you so far have only been from a “business” point of view. You can also create good friends through your writing. I know I did!
Here are a few of the relationships I’ve built through my author journey:
My uncle is an English teacher, but I don’t know him too well because he and his family live quite far from me and my family. On one of our trips to visit them, when I was very close to finishing the third draft of my novel, my uncle offered to be my copy editor. Through telling him I was planning to be an author, and then conversing with him through email, I’ve become closer to him.
Once upon a time, I was reading a free book I had found on Kindle. It was a great book that was about a time after World War III where the government has banned all religion, and has forbidden all talk of God. It was quite a good series, so I emailed the author to tell her so. Somewhere in the email, I mentioned that I was an aspiring author. The author of the book series and I emailed back and forth a few times, she asking me questions about my book, and I answering them.
Eventually, she offered to become a beta reader for me–in which I send her a free copy of my book, and she gives me feedback. Fast-forward several months, and I still keep in contact with her. She has become one of my biggest author role models, and not just because I like her writing, but I love her helpful attitude and her heart for God.
To list a few reasons why you need community after you publish:
1) Without reviewers, you have no social proof, and therefore people find no reason to trust you or your work.
2) You can’t expect to market a book on your own, even if you have a large following. People will expect you to say good things about your work, but if you have other people spread the word, you have a higher chance of rising in the Amazon ranks.
3) You need readers! There’s no point in publishing your work if you have no market. Readers are the sole purpose of why you publish.
So, there you have it. You need other people to be a part of the publishing process, whether you like it or not. 😉