I have been focusing on a lot of marketing in recent posts and one of the things I have mentioned time and again is that marketing is useless if you do not have a quality product. I have heard salespeople make the claim that they could sell ice cubes to people living in the arctic. If they manage to pull off that feat, I can guarantee you that their buyers will feel swindled and will not return for a second sale. If you sell your customer a poorly put together product, they will not buy from you again, it is that simple.
The first part of writing a good book is coming up with a great concept for your book. Before you start typing you should have a general idea at the very least of where the book is going. Many authors will plot out most of their book before they begin while others like to write by the seat of their pants. Even the authors not using an outline still have a very good idea where they want to go before they begin. Before you begin writing, I would suggest sounding your concept off of someone who will give you honest feedback. Sometimes we get really dumb ideas that we don’t realize are dumb until they are pointed out.
Once you have a concept and you have an outline, on paper or in your head, it is time to create your first draft. Some author’s will tell you to just write and not to worry about editing until after. That is generally good advice unless you have decided to change something major on the fly. I have been known to go back and add scenes to establish a new character that I was unaware of when I began the story. Other than that, don’t worry about editing as you are going to get a lot of that later. I feel like I should insert a diabolical laugh right about here as you will get so much editing it will practically make your brain hurt.
Upon completion of your first draft there will be a sense of great relief as you have finally finished your book. Unfortunately, that feeling will be short lived if you rush to publish at this point. Some author’s do this, they rush to publish their story as a ninety-nine cent kindle book. I want to clarify that not all ninety-nine cent books are poor quality. However this happens enough to give independent author’s a stigma that we all have to strive hard to overcome. The author who dumped their unedited first draft up for sale will sell some books, but they will not build a following. I cannot stress enough that you should not do this and add fire to the misconceptions about independent authors.
The first edit should be done by you, this is your chance to fix up the obvious errors and make small changes as need be. The reason I like to do the first edit myself is that it removes the obvious mistakes and makes it much easier for the second edit to find the more sneaky spelling errors and also focus in on what doesn’t work in the story. The second edit should be done by someone who is not you and will be brutally honest. A friend who doesn’t want to hurt your feelings has no business editing your book. You may want to consider hiring an editor and if you do, make sure they are reputable as there are poor editors out there. If you are uncertain about an editor, try the forums at goodreads.com and see if you can find one there with a few good recommendations.
After the second edit, you may very well be into a rewrite scenario as the editor may point out things that simply do not work. The rewrite will not take anywhere as long as writing the first draft depending on how much needs to be reworked. Once you have completed that, it is time to edit again. This time, if at all possible try reading the story out loud as amazingly enough, this focuses your attention even more on what you are doing and you will catch more mistakes. After this has been done, I recommend you do anther read because you will still find the occasional spelling error.
By now, you are very sick of editing and if you remembered how I mentioned that your brain would hurt, this is where you feel that. The thought of one more edit makes you almost ill and luckily at this stage, your book should be very readable and mostly error free. I say mostly because you will have errors when you publish. Stephen King, for example, has some errors that make it all the way through his publisher’s stringent editing process. If you visit his website, down at the bottom there is a link to report errors or typos as he calls them. Your book will never be perfect, but it will be a quality product and you will build a following thanks to you taking the time to get it right.
There are a few more factors that you should consider such as the cover and how the formatting appears in the kindle. Your cover needs to be catching as readers often choose their titles based on the cover and then the description. You need to use a font on your cover that is still readable in a thumbnail and images that draw in the potential reader. Formatting wise, once you have converted it to a kindle format, load it onto your kindle and make sure you don’t have any formatting issues. Tab through every page to make sure there aren’t any problems. I have read some great stories that have had some serious formatting issues that almost made me stop reading. Once you have published your book, if you get feedback on any issues, you can still correct them and upload the corrected version.
I want to thank you all for dropping by today and I hope you found the information in my article useful. Stephen King has been very adamant that the best writers are also extremely avid readers. It is absolutely true and keeping that in mind I want to recommend that you read my paranormal thriller The Daughter of Man. It is a great story steeped deeply with a theme of good vs. evil and I will even guarantee that there is a spelling mistake in it somewhere. Please take a moment and visit my friends at Amazon for reviews and a free sample of the book. I have been told that the sample is quite addictive. Anyway, thank you for reading my article and please feel free to hit the comment section below.