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Writing The Book Is The Easy Part

Apr 12, 2008
All of your life imaginary ideas have been floating around in your mind and one day you decide to unleash that creativity and write a book. What a wonderful thought. You go to the keyboard and put the first sentence onto a blank piece of paper. The first sentence soon becomes the first paragraph. The first paragraph turns into the first page in a short period of time. After that the first page becomes the first chapter. Several months later the first chapter turns into your first novel.

What a wonderful accomplishment! Congratulations! You feel as if you are the next literary heavyweight to explode onto the American market.

Not so fast. Let's look at how the real world views your remarkable achievement.

If you've done your homework, then you know that the manuscript was written with twelve point New Times Roman type. The work is double-spaced. You've saved it on disc and probably printed it with the help of your desktop printer. Now what? After all, you feel as if this masterpiece is the next great piece of literary work in American culture.

Do you want to market the intellectual property? If so, how do you go about that? Virtually all literary agents and publishing houses will not accept unsolicited material. You ask what unsolicited material is and find out that it is a piece of literary work that does not have a referral source. In other words, you don't know anybody that can get the finished piece of work through the front door. Now what?

You might ask around to see if you can get an intellectual property lawyer. What is that you ask? That would be a legal representative that can get the work copyrighted and protected from the people that you don't know out there.

You may submit the piece to the Writers Guild and obtain a registration number. They accept downloads from personal computers and for a small fee can protect your work for a short period of time. But you wonder how that will help you. At least with a Writers Guild registration number the work is somewhat protected from anyone that might try to steal it.

However the question remains. How will either of those sources help to get you through a door? The only thing that I can suggest is that perhaps the intellectual property lawyer has some contacts in the literary agency field or the publishing business. After all, up to now the lawyer is the only live link into the industry.

But what happens if that fails? Then you might have to research self-publishing houses and self-publish your first novel. Things could be worse. There are many different packages available that range anywhere from around five hundred dollars up to twenty thousand dollars depending on what you want to try and accomplish and how extensive you would like to market the book.

If you choose to self-publish, then you'll be able to decide whether or not you can design your own cover or pick from some of the generic ones that are offered. You'll have an opportunity to pick the size type that you would like to use. Different formatting styles will be offered. Hardback and paperback editions will be offered.

But have you thought about proofing and copyediting? Will you have to rewrite the novel after it is looked at by an editor? What happens if someone that you have chosen to offer an opinion says that it is not worthy of being published in the shape that it is in? Your expenses will increase as the various jobs are performed.

Let's assume that the manuscript needs some sprucing up and it is determined that you have to pay someone to read, review, and change the text. Is that an expense that you had budgeted into the project? The proofreader will need to be paid after the text is altered. After all the typos will need to be found and fixed; the sentence structure will need to be corrected. Did you plan on that expense as well? Now it is time to design your own cover. Did you leave enough money for a graphics design artist to assist you with that creative endeavor? You ask yourself if all of this is worth it.

Life is churning forward. You have written your first novel, but have finally admitted that writing the prose was the easiest part of the process. Not only that, but it is starting to get expensive and you still don't have an agent or a publisher that is remotely interested in reading an unsolicited manuscript. You surge ahead because you want to show the world your wonderful achievement. Several expensive checks are written to the self-publisher, the editor, the proofreader, and the graphics design person.

Now what happens? The production people with the self-publisher carry out their duties. You become aware of all of the dates and deadlines for the production schedule. Final approval forms are signed. You wait your turn in line. Finally the date comes where the book is hot off the press and you are sent a hardback edition as well as a paperback edition. Finally, after all of the time that you have spent on this project you are a published author. Now what?

Have you thought about how you are going to tell the world that your masterpiece is completed? Have you budgeted dollars for marketing the creation? Have you thought about how the book was going to be distributed to book stores? What happens if it does get into the book stores but you find out that the world is not knocking the door down to buy the finished product? Have you decided to build a web site to not only market the book title but also the author's name?

Now frustration sets in. Welcome to the world of unknown authors. You are not wanted by agents. Large publishing houses don't want anything to do with you. The only people that really want to read your book are the small group of friends and relatives that are in your inner circle. You get discouraged. You throw in the towel. You've spent a ton of money and it has gotten you minimal results. What other suggestions are there?
About the Author
Jim Ross, a University of Missouri-Columbia graduate went to a keyboard and let the words flow through his fingertips. Lifetime Loser is his first novel. Creative energies will dictate whether or not another story is to be told. Visit Lifetime Loser .
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