My Self-Publishing Journey
Then came the time when writing became less about fun and more of a task.
After I took that hard shift and set my goals, I quickly took note of the rate that I’d been writing. It became obvious that if I didn’t seriously pick up the pace, that I would be working on my first novel well into my forties. I didn’t want that. So, I moved writing up to the top of my priority list. The first few months that followed weren’t so bad as I was still riding the high of excitement. It wasn’t around the half-year mark when I noticed my drive was dissipating. Rapidly. While I still loved writing, it was undeniable that the process was shifting away from enjoyable.
That’s when the first wave of stress set in.
I’m a planner; I make lists. Naturally, I chose to map out timelines that assisted me to stay on track. At the top of my list, written in bold font was the word: editor. I knew that one word would be such a pivotal part of my journey, one that could easily make or break my story.
While many uncertainties were ahead of me, I was sure of one detail:
I was determined to give my work the best chance possible,
sparing no detail and cutting no corners.
Without a clue of where to begin, I researched. I considered many editing services and read over the different variations between them. It was mind blogging how many websites there were and how much of a variety there was in each type of edit. It took a while as I contemplated what was best for me at the current stage my manuscript was, which at that time, had been quite unfinished. That's when I discovered a specific edit that provided just what I needed, a little bit of extra TLC and nudge in the right direction—a collaborative edit from Kirkus Editorial.
Thrilled to have found what I was looking for, I was ready to get started, but as I clicked to the next webpage, my heart sank when I saw the price. Due to my word count, it came out to be several thousands of dollars for one round of an edit. My stomach twisted as I knew I would need more edits down the line and other services like formatting and cover design. The cost of this one edit was more than I thought the entire process would cost. It was at that point, that the unexpected issue of finance became one of my biggest obstacles.
A mountain of discouragement settled upon my shoulder and there it stayed.
Then I went back to the planning stage and tried to figure out a way. I’m one of those annoying optimistic people that believe there’s always another way. I considered loans from my bank and from my friends and family, but to no avail. No one was willing to take that risk with me. I remember one night when I felt so distraught from being rejected by so many people, that I broke down. I cried at the feeling of hopelessness that had fallen over me. It was after facing that unexpected obstacale that I knew that I could only rely on myself to make my dream a reality. So, I had two options: Find a cheaper edit or save up for however many months it took. I chose the latter. During those months of saving money, I spent that time priming my manuscript as much as I could, and compiled a list of questions for my editor.
The time came when I saved up enough. In fact, it was then that I had more money in my bank than I’d ever had before. I was proud, and ready for the plunge. I clicked the order button and watched my bank account drain away. It was done. My manuscript would soon be read in full by another person for the first time. I was going to hear the truth from a stranger whose job was read manuscripts. I wasn’t sure what made me more nauseous, that or the money.
Then came the waiting period, and boy, that was a trying time. After spending so much of my time writing and then just abruptly stopping left me lost for a few weeks. I feel odd not being able to add to my story or tweak it.
During that time, I struggled with unrelenting self-doubt and regret.
I questioned if I had spent that money wisely.
Each day I checked my email twenty times or more. It was the first and last thing I’d do every day. Finally, it was there. I took a deep breath and opened the cover letter. The widest smile surfaced as I read her letter that filled me with reassurance and hope.
She loved my story, my characters, my idea!
Someone had finally read my story, and even as flawed and unfinished as it was, she had raved about it. My motivation to write was back, and it was in overdrive! It was then that I knew I'd done the right thing, and it's now that I can confirm it.
Everyone's journey is different, but we could all use a bit a help from time to time. Find the right kind of editing service for you, do your research on them, and make it happen.
The lesson here to those who are facing something similar in their own journey:
there is always a way.