Steps to Writing & Self-Publishing a Book

This is an update to a post I wrote on January 17 called On Step 4 of a Stairway to Heaven… or Space. A strange title for a post, yes. The reason I named it that was because I am not sure of my final destination. I know I am traveling, but who knows where I am going?

Steps in old town

Image via Andrew Griffith Flickr Creative Commons

I am hoping heaven. This would mean my book will be published, marketed well enough that more than just my family and friends buy it, and hopefully people love it–or at least don’t want to throw it out the window and run over it with a lawnmower.

The other destination could be some black hole where none of the aforementioned awesomeness happens.

I’ve made some progress in the ‘heaven’ direction–yay for me–I no longer feel like I am climbing the wrong staircase and will end up lost in space. (I’ve read The Martian by Andy Weir, and I tell you, being lost in space sounds worse than sitting through a small town theater production of Hamlet–the extended version. Ok, so some of you probably love Hamlet and/or small town theater, but I really, really don’t… so it would be very painful for me.)

Back to my steps for writing a book. Steps have had to be added to the process since I am no longer pursing the traditional publishing route. I am a Type A control freak so making all the decisions for my book and its release gives me comfort. Plus, I don’t want to wait months for agents to get back to me, then assuming I do land an agent, wait many more months before landing a publishing deal, assuming I get one.

What step am I currently on in the book writing/editing/publishing process?  Not even a third of the way through. *sigh* Is it just me or does this just take a really long time?

For those that are interested, my plan is listed below. (Red check marks  indicate completed items. Underlined items are newly added since I’ve decided to go indie.)

  1. Finish first ‘good’ draft
  2. Friends, who read fantasy, read book
  3. Revise book per comments of friends who read fantasy
  4. Find people who don’t know me – who hopefully read YA fantasy – to read book (aka Beta Reader and others)
  5. Hire cover artist
  6. Revise book per comments of Beta Reader and others
  7. Read book aloud to hapless husband without either filing for divorce
  8. Revise book as per comments of hapless husband (maybe) and any errors that become obvious during reading aloud exercise
  9. Determine which distributor to use for self-publishing (i.e. Smashwords, Ingram Spark, Draft2Digital, etc.)
  10. Determine if I want to create a publishing company
  11. Create back cover book blurb
  12. Obtain ISBNs
  13. Book cover reveal and book preorder launch
  14. Exchange manuscripts with an writer that I have connected with on-line for proofread
  15. Hire professional editor who knows the fantasy genre
  16. Revise as per editors comments
  17. Create a map of my fantasy world
  18. Proofread book one last time.
  19. Compile book in proper format for ebook distribution
  20. Compile book in proper format for print distribution
  21. Find book blog reviewers willing to review my fantasy novel and provide reviews
  22. Book launch

Please note the minimal amount of red check marks above. I am currently on Step 6 which is taking much longer than I expected. This is a long and arduous process – probably more so for my husband when we get to the ‘reading aloud’ part.

The following came off my list once I decided I wanted to self-publish.

  1. Create painful query letter and/or synopsis of book (For clarification: the query letters are not to be painful, just creation of query letters happen to be painful)
  2. Identify agents accepting YA fantasy novels
  3. Email painful query letter and/or synopsis to prospective agents as per their specific submission requirements
  4. Wait for rejections, and hopefully at least one request for further pages
  5. Wait some more
  6. Receive responses from agents

What steps do you have to your writing process? Am I missing any? Advice is greatly appreciated.

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