I just came up with the idea for this when I was at a writing workshop and it occurred to me that most of the questions from people new to writing (read that as: even newer than me) were about the process of developing a story. I had the idea of expanding on a set of blog posts I wrote here, and building it up into a short book that I can self-pub on Smashwords.
Current status: PUBLISHED
25-Jun-17: Blog post text has been saved as Google Docs, as a start point to be expanded on. I’ve also written the first couple of paragraphs of an introduction.
14-Jul-17: Despite getting almost zero time to work on anything at all the last few days (between day job and then home and medical stuff my time has all been taken up by doing things for everyone but me), I did get a few minutes to work on the outline. It’s about 75% there, I’d say, and the “missing” bits are all in the last two or three chapters—and that’s basically because at the moment I’m not sure what exactly to put in those; I have a general idea but nothing detailed. I’m thinking about just getting on with writing the first chapters, and then (if things go the way they usually do) that’ll start to crystallise ideas for specific topics in those later chapters. Also: I’m trying to think of a better title.
15-Jul-17: I’m in the process of writing the first draft; so far the introduction and first couple of chapters are done. The next chapter covers timelines so it’ll get pretty detailed and quite possibly end up being the biggest part of the book. Nevertheless the whole thing is probably going to top out at maybe twenty thousand words. That’s good; I want a simple guide to get new writers started quickly, not a three-hundred page brick.
17-Jul-17: Pretty much finished the first draft; the next step is to edit. Once that’s done I need to put together the publication package so I can get it up on Smashwords. It’s only going to be a thin book but that’s the point. I’m thinking of setting the price at 49c. I have an idea for a title, but I need to think about it a bit more.
21-Jul-17: Editing is coming along nicely. I thought there were some bits I’d missed; when I checked against my outline I realised that somehow I’d skipped three topics I’d meant to cover, so those are in place now. I also moved some things around to avoid referring to a topic before it’s presented (except in a couple of places where that’s not practical without tying things in a knot). I’m pretty sure it’s about complete, but it needs another pass just to make sure it reads smoothly and to pick up more typos. I haven’t thought any more about the title idea I had; I’ll get to that soon.
22-Jul-17 13:33: (starting now I’m adding the time—24 hour clock, because I’m like that—to the posts, so I can keep better track when I update later the same day.) I’ve about finished. The main body is done, anyway. Rather than write it all up here, I’m going to write a blog post; I might as well try to fire up a little bit of interest ahead of releasing it (which won’t be far off, since this one’s going self-pub).
24-Jul-17 18:32: I finally came up with a title: Finish Your Book. The text is done and ready to upload. I even have a cover—I was going to do something in PaintShop Pro but I couldn’t get the damned thing to run on Windows 10, so I did a little searching and found a site called Canva, where you can design your book cover using stock images. I wouldn’t do that for a fiction book (well, probably not, but who knows—if I can’t find an agent for Smoke & Mirrors I might self-pub that, too), but it’s more than adequate for a little non-fiction like this. So all I need now is the long and short descriptions for the Smashwords page, and an ISBN (which I can get from Smashwords for free), and I’m ready to submit. I’m working on the descriptions now; I think I’ll be able to publish this little book tomorrow—or maybe even tonight, if I can come up with descriptions I like. Watch this space.
25-Jul-17 06:20: I wrote out a long description last night, then started with that to create the short description (by trimming bits out). I liked it and saw no reason to wait—so it’s published on Smashwords and available (and I sold a copy within half an hour). It’s pending review for premium status (which will make available on B&N, Kobo, etc.). That can take a couple of days. Unless it fails review and needs a tweak, this is officially no longer a work-in-progress.
26-Jul-17 12:40: It passed premium status yesterday evening, and within an hour I was able to find it on B&N, Kobo, and Apple. This morning I went to add those links to the Books page . . . and couldn’t find it on B&N any more, when I’m damned certain I’d seen it last night. No idea what happened there. I’m checking the site every so often. I also noticed that according to my Smashwords channel manager the book is listed as Will Be Shipped to Amazon—which is fantastic if true; having it in the Kindle store would be pretty damned awesome.
7-Aug-17 07:28: So it looks like the Will Be Shipped thing on the Smashwords channel manager is a little misleading. As such I went to KDP (I had an account still in place from when I published Pavonis, way back) and pushed Finish Your Book out that way. So now it’s out there (with a different cover; my picture editing software won’t run on Windows 10, and the cover image was wrong for KDP, so I used their cover designer to create a new one). There’s been some interest in the form of comments and questions on Google+, and I’ve made a few sales. KDP now makes it possible to create a print-on-demand version of your books, so I’ll probably do that later today.
19-Aug-17 08:01: I did create a print version of the book (slightly different cover; it seems there’s no way to re-use the eBook cover as a start point to create the print cover). I’ve been keeping an eye on sales and I’ve made a few. Marketing and self-promotion is tough, people.