to-do-listThe 1st draft of Blindsided is now finished and I need a break from it before going back in and tackling the 2nd draft, but I’m not going to sit around and download mountains of specialist porn, I’m going to enter the big bad world of self-publishing.

My first novel, ‘Railroaded‘, has been submitted to 44 agents and publishers without much success. I still like Railroaded and recently read a similar traditionally published novel which I didn’t think was as good, so that’s all the motivation I need to release it into the wild and back up my wildly biased opinion.

I’ve started researching into what I need to do to get a respectable, semi-professional ebook online. In my mind I’m budgeting £1,000 but I’d like to get it done for less although I’m not sure it’s going to be possible with editing and copy editing.

My first ports of call have been two free PDF downloads and a paid for app;

  1. Joanna Penn’s – Author 2.0 Blueprint
  2. The Book Designer – 10 things you need to know about self-publishing
  3. Writing Magazine – How to Publish Your Ebook – £5
  4. (Added 29th Jan 2014) – ‘Let’s Get Digital‘ by David Gaughan – £2 on Amazon or a free PDF

All 3 offer comprehensive information for absolute beginners in all aspects of ebook creation and marketing. I’m not a beginner but the book publishing specifics such as formatting, ISBN’s, pricing, etc is all new to me.

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thought-bubbleThe last thing you want when you finish a race is someone coming up to you describing how they ran a crap race, got a cold only a few days ago, got tripped up, had to stop for a dump, lost a shoe and then tell you how disappointed they are with their time…which is waaay better than yours.

The first draft of Blindsided is finished and before I can pat myself on the back for finishing a manuscript, no matter how shite it maybe, two doubts hit me; am I good enough and am I prolific enough?

The first one hit me reading a book review supplement from a Sunday paper, specifically a review of a novel featuring the break down of a family set against the backdrop of the Russian revolution.

Yeah, pretty heavy shit.

My novel is nowhere near that heavy. It’s not set against the backdrop of anything. When you read it you’re not going to learn any history or much at all, and you’re probably not going to be stroking your chin either.

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bwainOMG! I finally finished the first draft of Blindsided!

This is my third novel and seems to have been the hardest one to finish. The other two had their moments but this one was like giving birth to a rhino with 9 legs.

I started on 14th September 2012, had my usual late winter freeze with two months of plotting and no writing, I then hit another wall and also had the nightmare of losing 5,000 words. I finished the first half of the first draft at the end of August but then rushed on with a mountain of momentum and finished the second half only 3 months later.

Here might be the answer to this conundrum.

With my first two novels I did quite a bit of research, substantially more plotting and they were more dystopic/speculative novels. Literary sounds too heavy but Blindsided is definitely not sci-fi, I guess you could classify it as ‘Contemporary fiction’.  I did zero research and very minimal plotting, I just dived head first into it. It felt good at first but I soon became lost in the lack of plotting, and without a big dystopic idea to hold on to, I found it harder to make so-called ordinary, everyday lives readable and interesting.

My big fear in going back in for the second draft is; I haven’t.

Finishing this novel’s first draft was also a bit of an anti-climax for some reason. I think it’s because I’ve got a few nagging doubts but the more time goes by, the happier I am with it. I arrived at the finish in a slightly different route to the previous two novels, so maybe I’m having to adjust to that.

Maybe I’ve become more of a gristled, cynical, disillusioned writer and that brief sweet taste of victory at the end is now meaningless. I hope not!

I’m looking forward to the second draft. It’s probably my favourite draft. The first draft is a daily battle against blank pages, the third draft and onwards are basically touching up. The second draft is serious editing, rewriting, fixing, assessing, understanding and the first reading where you know how it all ends.

It’s currently 57,000 words long which isn’t long enough to be traditionally published but I always skimp on description and musing in the first draft, so I’ll be looking to finish the second draft at around 65,000 words.

I’m going to have a break between now and the second draft though. A break from Blindsided but not from writing, I plan on self-publishing my first novel Railroaded. A whole new sphere of headaches, no doubt!