It’s the final month of the first year of Authors Answer! By the end of this month, we will have been doing this for a full year. 52 questions answered. I’m glad to have gotten this far. It’s been a lot of fun. But, this question isn’t all about having fun. No, writing and publishing has its difficult side. Authors tend to have some aspect of writing that they hate, or at least dislike. I call this the dark side of writing.
Right now, I would say the rough draft phase, since I’m currently in it and it is driving me slowly insane. I have mountains of notes, but translating them from nebulous ideas to coherent text is always difficult, and it ends up feeling like I’m just throwing putty against a wall and hoping it will stick in some sort of pattern. Not having a clear sense of where I’m headed is disheartening — even though I know I’ll suss it out soon enough.
When I’m not in the middle of a new work, though, marketing is definitely the worst. Which is why I don’t do nearly enough.
I’m certain I’m not alone when I say I like marketing the least. As a writer, I’m an inherently introverted person. I crave alone time and not standing out, most of the time. Marketing a book requires all sort of extroversion that I occasionally cower at the thought of. Expose my heart and soul to the general public? Entice total stranger to dissect my innards? HOW COULD I EVER?
But then I do it, and it still sucks, but it’s really not that bad. It’s a mental thing is all. And, sometimes, that can be the worst part of it all.
The business side. I love to write, but I hate the business of selling.
I really enjoy the planning and plotting. It’s such an adventure to start with an idea and build a world populated with characters you’ve created. Granted they don’t always behave as you would like, but that can be fun as well.
I despise the editing part of the process. It’s a necessary evil, but it’s also the one part of the process that makes you question all your knowledge and skills. “What’s that? How did I miss the question mark at the end of this sentence? How did I use the wrong ‘your?’ I know better than that! This whole paragraph is garbage, just delete it all. I can’t send this to a beta, they’ll laugh at all the mistakes I didn’t catch!”
My least favorite part is sending out my manuscript to publishers. The reason I’m not published yet is because the book I’ve written (co-written to be more precise) has been rejected a dozen times. We didn’t go through an agent. We simply sent it straight to the publishers.
I do not enjoy the traditional publishing route. Been there, almost done it. Did not like it.
To be specific, I once sent a manuscript to a publisher after taking a year to write my first novel. This was back in the day…I sent the whole thing unsolicited, printed out and placed in a box. They loved it, offered me contracts for it and two more, and then we went to work editing. And more editing. And plans for a pub date a year in the future, and then they killed their fiction line. So I found an agent and started over. Two years later, after a couple near misses with other publishers, both my agent and I gave up on it. So nothing to show for three years of stress and strain, of which almost none of it had anything to do with writing.
So at this point I’m all about self-publishing, and I really do enjoy all aspects of writing and publishing. Certainly parts of it can get tedious. For instance, before I published my first novella, I surely read through it over 50 times, which got very tiring, and another ten times after my editor made her changes. And researching keywords for loading in the Amazon book setup is a heck of a way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. On the other hand, I recognize the value of doing both of these things well, and I get excited when I do them well, when I make little discoveries that can help me tell a tale in a more engaging way, or when I figure out how to help my book show up in relevant searches.
The thing I don’t like about the entire process is that there is never enough time to do all of it, especially to do it all as well as I’d like.
I have to say my least favorite part of the whole publication process is the waiting. Waiting on submissions, waiting to hear from editors on edits, waiting to hold the finished piece in my hands. Mostly, I suppose it’s waiting on all the things that are not in my personal control. I have this issue outside of writing too, which might make me a little bit of a control freak. Maybe.
Probably one of the parts I haven’t gotten to yet.
But out of what I have done, I can’t say I like writing about myself, which is a necessary part of promoting my own work.
Honestly, the hardest part of the writing process for me is getting the first draft of a story down. I tend to obsess over the small details of a first draft, which makes for a fairly clean first draft but also delays the creative flow of ideas to paper/screen. Once ideas are on the page I feel immense relief and actually enjoy editing and honing them for the audience.
Well, the very first thing that came to my mind was marketing, because I’ve spoken before on how much I damn well hate having to deal with marketing myself. But then I thought, marketing isn’t really part of the “writing and publishing process”…that comes afterward. So what’s my least favourite part of writing/publishing? Well, I’ll probably have to go with final editing. Some people don’t mind it, but I think it’s a pretty universally hated part of writing because by the time you’ve gotten to final edits you’ve had to re-read your own work a dozen or more times and you’ve gotten to the point where you’re genuinely starting to hate it. Even if you thought it was awesome before, by the time you get to final edits you start to feel like tossing the whole thing into a fire.
At least, that’s how I feel. lol
At the moment I’d have to say trying to figure out how to go about getting published. It seems like a maze with things to do at every corner but I’m never sure I’m going the right way and whether I’m doing it in the right order. I hope once I’ve got it figured out the second time will be easy.
I haven’t gone very far, but I can see how marketing can be rather daunting. I’m getting practice with marketing my blog with some success, but it’s still an uphill battle. I like writing, I don’t mind the editing process, I love the worldbuilding and character creating. But I think trying to get the word out and actually sell my book are the most difficult things. I’m not certain if I’m a good salesperson. It would be nice if it just sold itself, but that’s not the way it works. From what I’ve heard, writing is only ten percent of the word. The other ninety percent is marketing and selling.
How about you?
If you’re a writer, what do you find the most difficult aspect of writing and publishing? If you’re not a writer, what do you think would be most difficult for you? Let us know in the comments below.