New Series: #2 How to Write and Why You May Want to Self-Publish: Tips and Insights from Personal Experience
By Jeff Brown
As I went back through the book certain themes, pieces of poems or dreams, images, people or whatever came to take on greater and greater collective meaning, meaning that became more and more clear as I re-wrote and re-wrote. Remember, writing isn’t so much about writing as it is re-writing. In re-writing, ideas come to us as we revisit the material time and again that we didn’t see before, for the changes that we made last time inspire us and guide us to new ideas as we see them for the first time alongside story that was not changed.
Moving along draft, after draft, after draft (I went through the book some 40 times; consider Hemingway rewrote A Farewell to Arms 39 times and won the Pulitzer and Noble prizes for literature) I was informed as to what to change. At times I had to add something for the scene was lacking or needed something to spice it up. Or at times I had to take something away for the scene had too much or maybe a character was not acting as he or she should. For me, and many other writers, we really don’t know what we are doing or where the story is going until we are informed by our writing.
After completing the book, I needed a publisher. I found Lulu, a publisher that you don’t pay because you have to do all the work. It simply gives you the platform and the tools to get your book published. But I had to get the pictures for the front and back covers, set the print correctly with proper spacing and boarders according to Lulu’s requirements. I had to adjust the color of the spine and overall look to coordinate the two covers. Then I had to set pricing and get it over to Amazon and upload it properly. Get the ISBN before doing so . . . And this didn’t all just happen. I probably had to revise some twenty times before everything looked professional and ready for sale.
But that’s just the beginning. Now I had to do marketing. I began writing articles, posting on blogs, telling friends and acquaintances, handing out business cards, talking to students, putting copies in book stores, on and on.
If you look at those who are well known in the publishing world, it means they’ve spent a lot of time and money doing so. Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, along with his partner Jack Canfield, did radio interviews every day for a year before their books took off. Robert Kiyosaki had to pay Radio Television Interview Report (a periodical members of the media use to find new talent) some $5000 to $8000 to get noticed. And the famous Frank Herbert of Dune fame was turned down by every big publisher before he was published by, of all things, an automotive publisher on his way to fame and fortune.
So if you want it, you can get it. But first, hone your skills. Write. Write. Write. Write. Write. And when you’re done with that, write some more and some more and some more. Get into the details. Know grammar, punctuation, the paragraph, diction, build a vocabulary, learn how to think critically, logically, thoroughly, and to the benefit of your reader. Yes, your reader needs to be in your mind as you write. Not all the time, but if you forget them too often they’ll soon forget you, or never notice you in the first place.
Prior to owning Inner Projection, Jeff worked as a computer programmer and in tech. support, but hated it enough to move from his home in Connecticut to do stand up comedy in Boston where he worked with such comics as Bill Burr, Dan Cook, and Billy Martin and wrote for people like Mz. Michigan who needed material for her ventriloquism act. He then moved to Los Angeles to do more stand up, but found being a coach & college instructor more rewarding. He’s married with 3 children.