I had a story in my mind, and I wrote and wrote and wrote. Over a hundred and thirty thousand words. One day I woke up and asked myself. “How long should my book be?” Research showed me that a fiction book needed to be between 70,000 and 100,000 words. Yes, there are longer books out there, but unless one is a famous writer, shorter is sometimes better. So I had to decide where to break off my first book and begin a second.
I still didn’t know the elements of a good story, even though I thought I knew. I kept on writing. How I wish I had known to do some research and study and find out how to construct a good story. Looking back at my first book, I see that it’s not terrible, but it would have been a much better book, and that would have made my three-book World Eternal series much better.
After deciding where and how to end the first book, I began searching for a publisher. I didn’t have an agent. I didn’t know anything about publishers except that the big ones wouldn’t even look at my book. So I Googled and searched, and I found a Christian publisher, which is what I was looking for. The publisher was a vanity publisher. I paid them to edit, do the cover and back, and publish my book to different vendors. For more information on how to find a publisher, see Debra Butterfield’s article here.
A week after I sent them my manuscript, they sent it back. It had passed their Content Review, meaning my book did not contain profanity, libel, copyright infringement, or any other content that did not follow their publishing guidelines.
The publisher did an Editorial Assessment, where they would decide what type of editorial services my book needed. While I waited for their answer, I was busy working on the front and back cover material for my book. I wrote a short synopsis of the story for the back and an author bio, as well as getting a professional photograph of myself. The publisher sent me a website where I searched thousands of photographs for what I thought was just the right picture for the front of my book.
Two weeks later, I received an email from my publisher that included a 1,700 word edit showing me the types of corrections they would be making and a PDF file attachment telling the various steps of the editing process. It is not surprising that they said my book needed a Developmental Edit, their most comprehensive editing or a Content Edit that looked for problems within the manuscript. I purchased the Content Edit.
A week later, they sent me instructions on using Tracked Changes in Microsoft Word. Two weeks after this, I received my edited book. Every page was marked with changes I needed to make. Notes from the editors about better ways of saying what I had written, questions about events in my story, point-outs about conversation or events that were confusing, and of course, the unescapable sentence structure and punctuation errors filled the side-bars. After working nearly night and day for three weeks, I returned the corrected manuscript to the editors. They made more changes in my manuscript and returned it to me for approval.
A final Executive Review followed. When my publishers finished that review, they sent it to me for a final review to check if the formatting inside and out was correct. I wanted a few corrections on the book cover, and they made them. They sent me a copy of my completed book for a check on the printing and layout. It passed my inspection, and my book went online, for sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
One of my friends bought my book and found a mistake that neither the publishing editors nor I had caught. It was a mistake that I could not let go, and I had to pay a lot of money to get one word changed.
Eight months after I contacted my publisher, my book was released. By then I had its sequel nearly finished and was ready to go through the whole process again. And I had learned a lot.