Authors & Publishers

Jan McBarron on What It’s Like to Write and Publish Your First Book

4 minute read

The process of writing and publishing your first book can be nerve-wracking. Most people do not anticipate the huge amount of work that goes into writing a book. Writers spend many hours alone at the computer, even when they have other full-time job responsibilities. They may sacrifice other activities, family time or sleep to get their books written.

The end result of a published book is a dream come true for many writers. Dr. Jan McBarron, an award winning physician, public speaker, and author explains the process of writing and publishing a book and offers helpful hints for anyone who has the dream of becoming a published author.

Create an Idea

Before you write, you will need to have an original idea. Too many people make the mistake of simply recycling others’ material to create a new book. This most often happens in self-publishing arenas. To write a book that will truly make an impact, you need to be original and thoughtful.

Research

You will need to do plenty of research before you write. Read widely on the topic you have chosen. For example, if you want to write a historical fiction novel, you should read all about the time period you are going to cover. Understanding every facet of the world you are going to write about will make your book more exciting.

When you are writing nonfiction, be sure to maintain a detailed list of all your sources to use in the bibliography and footnotes. This should prevent you from being accused of plagiarism and will help future readers of your book do their own further research.

Outline

The next thing you need to do, according to Jan McBarron, is to outline your book. It provides a set structure that enables you to create your book around. Lay out all the sections you plan to write, along with topics for each section. This may be change as time goes on, but before you write, you should have a complete plan.

In the case of fiction writing, some authors prefer not to start out with a defined plan however, this can create problems with plot and continuity. Regardless of topic, all writers benefit from planning.

Write

This seems like it should be the easy part, but writing is an intimidating process. Many people find themselves staring at a blank page. Having an outline and plenty of research will help you get started.

When writing your first draft, you need to give yourself permission to be imperfect. Having too-high expectations of your first draft can paralyze you and cause you to give up on your project before you have really gotten started.

Give yourself permission to get your ideas roughed out on paper, and add more layers with each draft. Most books make complete transformations between the first draft and the final product.

Writers are often unhappy with their first few attempts. Even professionals and famous authors have this problem. Understand that you are not the best person to judge the quality of your writing.

It can be difficult for new writers to find the time and motivation to write. It helps to create a daily writing schedule. No matter how much you have going on in your life, you need to set aside a certain part of the day for writing. You can allocate time by word count or by the number of minutes you write.

Developing a daily writing discipline will help you become more creative. As you become accustomed to writing your thoughts daily, you will find they flow more easily. Each day of writing will enhance your ability to write as well as increase the quality of your content.

Editing

Most writers loathe editing their own work. Self-editing leads to self-doubt. Even successful authors feel this way when they are editing their own work.

While it is important to self-edit first, you should then allow someone else to edit. It is remarkable what mistakes a second set of fresh eyes discovers. This proofreading termed “beta reading” is usually required before submission to a professional editor.

Professional editing is a must for writing a reputable book, claims Jan McBarron. Anyone can write whatever they want, and may have it accepted by an online bookstore, but if the book has not been professionally edited, it will fail because of embarrassing mistakes. Submitting your manuscript to a professional editor will dramatically improve the value of your book as well as protect your reputation as an author.

Agents

If your goal is to be published in print vs simply online, you should secure a literary agent. There are listings online for agents in your subject area who are looking for new clients to represent. To attract agents, you need to write a query letter and a synopsis of your book. Writing query letters and synopses are considered two of the most difficult tasks included in writing a book because you are basically trying to “sell your book” to someone who must then “sell it” to a publisher.

Publishing

To publish your book as an e-book online, you will have to download the correct software and have your book formatted properly. Many people contract this step out to a book formatter to avoid potential problems. However, some authors elect to format e-books themselves. It is irrelevant who does it, but it must be done correctly.

If you are interested in a major print publisher, your literary agent will assist you by networking with their connections to secure one.

Your New Book

When your book is complete, you will experience a great sense of pride and accomplishment. You will be able to call yourself a published author. Dr. Jan McBarron encourages everyone who wants to write a book to give it a try. The only thing holding you back is lack of commitment, staying focused on your goal and fear of failure. All three are in your control.

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Adrian Rubin

Adrian Rubin is a freelancer, creative arts director for various marketing and advertising companies in the New York area. Adrian Rubin specializes in making memorable campaigns. You can learn more about his services here: AdrianRubin.net
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