It takes me awhile to write a full-length novel, mostly because procrastination is so easy. I'm working on fixing that. As I worked on In Dreams We Live, I did eventually manage to set a writing routine and stick with it. Let me clarify that one qualifying word of eventually. When OPUS II closed for good at the end of February 2017, I got down to some serious writing (well, after a trip to Belize, that is). So when I returned to the partially finished book (it had somewhere around 65 000 words, compiled over several years) and did some actual, day-to-day writing, I managed to write the final half of the book between mid-March and the end of May. Final word count rests just north of 130 000, so you can see, if I actually set my mind to it--and the characters and story line cooperate--then it really shouldn't take me 7 years to finish the first draft of a book. So maybe the next novel (currently sitting at 55 000 words) will arrive before 2020. One can hope.
At around the 75 000 word mark in early April, I saw a contest for books published before May 19 and thought "Well, there's a goal I might achieve." Deadlines give you incentive. I wanted to make sure, however, that this story might actually catch the attention of readers, so I asked some people if they'd be willing to give what I had written so far a read-over, let me know if I should even continue. Happily, they all agreed I might have something here. So I kept at it. Even had one wonderful woman so excited to learn what happened next that I kept sending her sections as I finished--raw and unedited (she was kind enough to ignore all the horrendous spelling mistakes). I decided by around May 12 that, while I could indeed finish In Dreams by May 19, it would have no editing done, making immediate publication a serious mistake. So I did not enter the contest, but I did finish my book, and with feedback and comments even as the last word sat blinking happily upon the page.
Then I got down to the editing. First read-through, just to make sure the sentences made sense, occurred in short order, even though I find it's best to sit back and let things quieten down in the brain before any serious editing reaches the screen. I plugged everything into CreateSpace (a wonderful self-publishing tool affiliated with amazon), made up a temporary cover so that I had a place holder for later artwork, looked through the digital proof 3 times for format, style, and content, then ordered a proof copy to do a more thorough job of the editing process. Personally, I love having a physical book in my hands, whether reading it or editing it, though CreateSpace offers both options (physical copy and/or digital proof). So I sat back and waited for the proof to arrive, expecting a couple of weeks of reprieve before diving back in. The book arrived within a few days. I made myself wait a more decent interval before plunging myself back into Angie's world, so that the distance of time would hopefully give me a better perspective.
The basic story didn't change, nor the order of events. I did tie up some loose ends, fixed any missed typos/grammar/spelling mistakes, altered some sentence structure, etc. The usual things one might expect in the editing process. Then I set it aside once more and worked on other stuff.
Near the beginning of August, I took my revised copy and read it through yet again. Out loud. Amazing the things you catch when you read it aloud.
I then did some additional research on all things self-published and found two absolutely fantastic resources.
Draft2Digital provides a platform to reach the ebook markets not affiliated with amazon, so now I have my books available at Kobo, iStore, Barnes & Noble, etc. as well as amazon (Spirit of the Stone, my 2nd book, is exclusive to amazon until November--just the way I had my rights set up), giving me a wider range of potential readership.
And AdobeSpark has a book cover creator which far surpasses what CreateSpace offers in book cover design (still love CreateSpace for the process of paperback creation). It so impressed me that I redesigned the covers of my first two novels while I was at it. My cousin made a wonderful painting as per my original concept art idea for In Dreams, but I fell in love with what I created through AdobeSpark and that ended up as my cover art.
With all tools now in hand (paperback, digital, cover art), I submitted my work to the variously chosen venues, clicked "publish," and now have my 3rd fantasy novel available all around the world. I can't tell you how excited that makes me!
*As of today (Aug. 28), I'm still waiting for the paperback version to appear at amazon.ca. It should show up soon. CreateSpace has it, as does amazon.com, so I'm crossing my fingers that the Canadian store will catch up soon. You know, being Canadian and all.