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My Journey with My First Novel

Hello! How’s everyone feeling? Personally, I’m conflicted because soon is in a month or less and I can’t decide how I feel about it.

Which also brings up the question if classes are gonna be online or in-person. (I mean I am exhausted from staying home for all of this time, but do I really want to wear a mask for seven hours? Ironically, I speak like I even have a choice.)

Anyways, I've gotten loads of questions about how I published my baby … and let me specify I am referring to my book baby. I do not have a human baby.

Let me tell you a quick briefing over how Foreshadow went from an idea on my laptop to paperback on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, as well as Kindle!


Now, before I start, book publishing is a long, long process. I was so lucky I got to see my book in real life in about a year from when I wrote it. Most authors have to wait a year just to hear the reply from the publishing company. So don't get too demoralized if your book takes ages to materialize. In the end, it will all be worth it.

1. Writing the Draft

The biggest mistake I committed was thinking that once I wrote down the book, I was done. That once all my ideas were on the laptop, I'm good to go. I ended up changing lots of details over the course of the next six months because I didn't bother to review my manuscript once I finished typing all 28 chapters. (Heck, I ever rewrote chapter 4 at some point.) But then, as I read tens of articles about first-time publishing (we’ll get to this point later on) one sentence was particularly etched into my mind - "The first draft is just you telling yourself the story. You have to edit after that what nears ten times." And they were right. So when writing the first draft, be ready for a third, fourth, and fifth one, too. Edit the story as much as you want, because when it's in paperback, your hard work will have paid off.

2. Professional Editing

Don't even think of skipping this step. Editing is a vital step in publishing. No matter how much you think you reviewed the book, your eyes tend to miss trivial mistakes such as your and you're, because you read it around a gazillion times. A second pair of eyes is always essential, because you will read your book the way you want it to be. I used FirstEditing, and frankly, they were marvelous. My editor provided insight that has been useful in countless ways. As well as spelling and grammar check, they make sure your story is at its best. So don't. Skip. Editing.

3. Finding a Publisher

Publishing companies usually take 3-6 months to reply, and sometimes up to a year or two (or so I’ve heard.)Don't be too bummed if it takes a while. Personally, publishing companies didn't want to publish my book (because I was 14, I guess?), so dad's author friend suggested we self-publish, so we did. We published it via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which enabled my book to be sold on Amazon and Kindle. Basically, self-publishing wins over publishing companies for one reason - you get all the income. (The production cost is a lot more, though.) Publishing companies, however, do all the publicity for you and so you have a higher chance of being noticed. Which one to go with is entirely up to you either way.

4. Promoting Your Book

After going ahead and deciding on how to publish, you have to get your word out there. Once you settle on a publishing outlet, get the word out. Start building up a "fanbase", you can call it. Build up a buzz for your book. Gather anticipated readers. You have to start at least 6 months in advance. Hyping up your audience (findingyour audience, matter of fact) takes time. Offer giveaways, and find popular authors to read and review your book, like my good friend Peggy Mcaloon (author of Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals) has done. You need to let people know that "yes, I exist, and I'm gonna publish a book". Another key to promotion is having a website and/or blog. Somewhere other than social media where people can find you. Post a little about yourself; a lot about your book. I found that people care less about who you are and more about what you have to give.

5. Knowing What To Do

Read. Read all the articles you can get your hands on. I didn’t come to this step until after I sent my book for editing, and do I regret it? Perhaps … Subscribe to writing blogs (*winks*) and read. Search up "first time author" or "first book publishing" - all the random sentences you can come up with. Read about self-publishing. Read about publishing with a company. Read about editing. Read about drafting. Read about story plots and help. Anything can be so useful. Articles are your key. The more you read, the more you'll learn from the experience of older and more experienced authors.


I hope that this has been a helpful insight! Remember - if you want to be an author, age isn't a barrier. I'm 17, but became a a published author at just 14. SThe point is to not give up! Comment if you're currently writing or plan to write, and if you are, tell me! I'd love to support you and your book.

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©2018 by Leena Althekair.