Progress and next steps: The path to publication
It's crazy how quickly things get done when you set a goal and work toward it, huh? Just a month ago I was posting about being at the halfway point of the new novel, and unsure of how to continue, and today I broke the 50k word barrier! That means I'm 10k away from the goal of "full length novel" standards. With the plans of what I have left to write to wrap this story up, I think I can easily manage that, if not a little more.
That means that the thoughts about the rest of the process have bee starting to come to my mind. It's been stressing me out a bit, if I'm going to be honest. The first book was exciting: learning the process, making a cover by myself, not worrying about editing or problems with the work, just focusing on getting it out there. Saying I had a published book. I'd done it. I was a writer. After the initial rush, I quickly devolved into imposter syndrome and realized that if I wanted to "be a writer", I'd need to keep it up. That's when I started on PsyConics, but around the same time, lockdown happened. I thought it would be a dream, I'd have so much time to write, the book would be done in no time! Two years later, I was finally finishing it. It took two years for me to realize that if I wanted to publish with any frequency, I had to make a plan and stick to it. That's when I started the 1,000 words a day goal. It worked wonders, and it still is. The third book was done and out a year after the second, and this one is almost finished only a handful of months after the last release. It's a great feeling, having a completed draft, and I look forward to it every day as it's approaching.
As I said though, I'm starting to stress about the rest. After the draft is done, I need to let it sit and marinate for a bit. At least a few weeks. Then comes the editing passes I do myself. A read through for parts that don't make sense, scenes that need rewrites now that I know the characters better, pieces of foreshadowing or theme that need scattered around to tie the book together. Then editing number 2, going back and fixing the bad sentences, removing the duplicate words that I tend to cling to, prettying up the piece. Then, pass three, the hunt for filler words. Get rid of all the that's and just's and the things that make it sound clunky and unprofessional.
Then, my big stress but one of the final steps in the entire "make each book better than the last" plan I have: the editor. Last book, I had a beta reader and a proofreader from Fiverr help, and it was a great experience, but I haven't been able to summon the courage to have the book professionally edited. Not only am I scared that a professional editor will read the book and come back with an email containing just a frowny face and the words "No, this isn't it", but the cost is also a factor. I looked over the standard rates of freelance editors, and the average is anywhere from .03 to .06 cents a word for a full, developmental edit (which will tell me what parts work and what don't, and just overall how to make the book the best it can be). For a 60k word manuscript, that's close to 2 grand. It's a daunting number to spend on the book, when across all three books since I've started this journey, I've only made almost $400 in royalties. Then we add in the cost of the cover, the proofread, the beta read, the ads and promotion. It's one of the parts of being an indie author that really saps the motivation from you. Why do I spend five times as much to publish a book than I will make back on it? I could just have a bonfire and toss hundreds into it, it would be about the same.
Except it's not. For me at least, having a book with my name on it, that someone might read and enjoy, is worth it alone. Could I do that without the extra expenses? Probably. Would I feel bad about it? Also probably. Do I want to put my best foot forward? Of course I do. There's always the hope, the dream, that the one person that reads and loves the book tells a friend, who tells a friend, and eventually it's getting noticed. It's a small hope, a pipe dream, but it fuels some of the fire.
Either way, I have to finish the damned thing before any of that happens, so why stress about it already? I'd rather enjoy the final stretch of the draft, see what unexpected things might happen, and rejoice when I finally drop the last word on the page.
Celebrate the victories and worry about each hurdle as they come. That's what I'm trying to do at least.
P.s. - In weird news, somehow The Path of the Divine Order got categorized as a "student calendar" on Amazon. I'm hoping it'll change soon, as they updated their categories and I wasn't aware, so I've gone and updated them on all the books, but if you want to buy the worst planner you've ever had, go ahead and grab one! All I ask, don't leave a 1 star review because "this calendar is full of words and made me fail my class". :P