Unguarded: Reflection

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well and on the way to achieving your weekly goals! I wanted to reflect on the experience from beginning to end, as well as inform you of some things, so let’s get down to business.

This past weekend, Unguarded released in print and on the Kindle. It has been a wonderful seven months since beginning the writing process in June. Throughout the early summer, I planned the book in skeleton form, getting the main plot ideas down before moving forward. From June to September, I spent quite a bit of time writing, applying tips and tricks I’d learned along the way. One thing I also tried to incorporate this time around is extending the length of manuscript. This was a common suggestion in the reviews from Resistant, so I wanted to listen to that and act on it.

After completing the first draft, I gave the manuscript to two of my friends. They acted as my beta readers and editors, one of them actually being my editor on the first book. While I awaited their feedback, I contacted my cover designer and got that process moving. Knowing what I wanted this time around, I received the final cover less than a week from when I placed the order for it. If you are interested, check out BookFuel for their author services. Soon after that, my editors/readers each gave me some great feedback, helping me shape my story into the second draft. It was in that draft that much of the story kept its form, remaining that way all the way until publication.

The third and final draft (in terms of major changes to the manuscript) was finished around Thanksgiving. I rested my writing mind during the holidays, which is a good piece of advice for aspiring writers. Taking breaks is not a bad thing! I then read through the third draft two more times before the middle of December arrived, tweaking and amending parts of the story that needed it. The biggest aspect I tried to pay attention to was the dialogue. This has been an ever-changing aspect of writing for me in the sense that I have been putting much effort into trying to make it the best it can be.

I then gave the manuscript to my editor for three weeks (December into January). He sent me really helpful feedback and answered a few questions after I went through his changes. With the manuscript very close to being complete, I did one final read-through. Again, I focused on dialogue, as well as keeping an eye out for grammar and spelling one last time. I finished this item on the checklist the day before I needed to submit the manuscript to Amazon (for the pre-order).

After submitting the formatted ebook manuscript to KDP (.mobi files for Kindle, by the way), I formatted the print document. Createspace provides templates that make formatting easier on the indie publisher. You can check them out here. I wanted to streamline the look of my books, especially those in the Faces of the War collection, so I simply made the formatting for one book and saved the same document as different files for each of the books. This may take you some time, but it will help improve the image of your books, which improves the quality of your brand.

When the time came to submit the print version to Createspace, I did that with much excitement. The next morning, I received an email from Createspace stating they found no formatting errors and that the book’s publication awaited my “O.K.” I gave the final submission through my profile on Createspace on Friday evening of last week. Even though the prompt then said it would take 3-5 business days to process, the book still went live Monday morning. Sometimes is just works out for the better in that way.

Overall, I was very happy with my writing, editing, and publishing experience this time around. Writing has given me such joy, and I hope that the content I distribute does the same for my readers. I am very excited for the possibilities in store for me in 2015, and I can’t wait to get moving on the next project.

One final thing is this: if you are a new or somewhat new writer, and find yourself discouraged or unmotivated, please do not lose heart. All it takes it just to work a little here and a little there to get into a rhythm. And if you’re not feeling the writing vibe at the moment, then do some reading. Anything you can do to stimulate your creative mind will help you out. Don’t ever tell yourself you can’t do something just because it’s 45,000 words away. You can do it!

I hope you will check out my books, especially Unguarded, and tell me what you think in a review!

Until next time,

-Eli

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