Friday, September 25, 2015

The Authorteers' Guide to Self-Publishing: First Draft

Welcome to a new series of posts on The Authorteers! When we first started our journey to being published indie authors, we did lots of research on how. There are numerous articles on practically everything related to the different aspects of writing and publishing. With as many steps as there are leading up to actually hitting publish on a finished manuscript, aspiring authors can often be overwhelmed with the process, sometimes to the point of giving up before they've even started.

To be completely honest, we were overwhelmed, too.

All five Authorteers decided we wanted to help aspiring authors achieve their goal of publishing their first book. We're going to break down each step in an easy-to-follow guide to self-publishing. We'll cover all the important details you need to know, including some specific things that we've personally learned through the years. It's our hope that you're able to use this guide to reach for the stars and accomplish your dream of getting published.

First Draft

Ahhh... the first draft. The very beginning of your book. It's pretty huge when you think about it, but it's also pretty amazing. Let's go over how to take it on.

Setting Goals

It's a great idea so set some goals for yourself so that you can stay on track with your writing. Every writer is different as far as what kind of goals they set. Some dedicate a certain amount of time per day to writing; others set a word count goal per day. All writers agree that it's definitely a good goal to make sure you're writing every day. When you make writing part of your routine, it becomes a habit and that will help you make progress.

When you're an indie author, you don't have the deadlines that a traditionally published author tends to have, but it's good to have some tentative deadlines in mind. Whether it's in regard to your word count, finishing your draft, or picking a release date, having a rough idea of where you want to be when will help you stay focused on your ultimate goal of getting published.

A good thing about keeping it tentative is that there may be times where you get stuck on a scene or life happens. You shouldn't be disappointed if you have trouble meeting your goals or deadlines. Even the best writer can fall behind on a project. Just set new goals/deadlines and keep going!

How To Write

Something a lot of writers ask about first drafts is whether they should keep writing or edit as you go. You'll get different responses from everyone. There are pros and cons to each. Some say they have to continue writing because if they go back to edit, they won't stop. For others, it may be beneficial if they need to reword or change a scene to better represent what they want in the end. There are also some that will reread the last few pages before they start writing again. Regardless of which way you go with, as long as it works for you keep doing it!

Another important thing to note is that if you're writing something that you're unfamiliar with, do research. We can't emphasize this enough! The last thing you want is for your book to be inaccurate because you didn't look up the proper name or procedure for something, or if you're misrepresenting diversity in a character. Utilize Google or ask a friend. There are a number of people on social media who could either answer your question or point you in the direction you need.

Bonus Character Tip: Keep track of your characters with a chart. When you're writing several different characters it can be easy to mix up characteristics and personalities if you're not careful. The last thing you want is to have your protagonist accidentally have a new eye color halfway through the story! Having a chart handy will help you stay on track as you go along.


So, there you have it! Next week we'll be discussing writer's block and other setbacks.


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