That was pretty much the response I got from everyone I shared my news with. After they got over the initial shock, the next response was always "Who's your publisher?" I don't have a publisher and wait for it... I'm not looking for one. Once again, bring on the shock. I blogged about self publishing and my reasoning behind it here.
But before I even began writing, I did a ton of research. I didn't just throw myself into something I had little knowledge on. Once I set my sights on self publishing I knew I had to do it right. I am by no means an expert on writing a book, but during the last year I have gathered a great deal of information about manuscript writing and authors.
For anyone who is planning on writing a novel or is just interested in my process, I'd like to share some basic ideas that I ran with when I first began.
Knowing where to begin is the hardest part. I had a story floating around in my head for months before I ever sat down at my computer. I let the story build as I began my research.
One of the first things I did was research my genre. I read every women's fiction and chick lit book I could get my hands on. I Googled authors, their publishing companies, how many books they had under their belt, if they were self published—I read and followed their blogs. (Yep, it bordered on stalking.) During this time I also read reviews that people wrote. It helped me understand what the public liked and disliked about these books.
It was after reading the reviews that I had my first revelation. (It was minor, but still a revelation.) MY BOOK WILL NOT APPEAL TO EVERYONE! If you are planning to write a book, keep this in mind. One person may love your book, but another may absolutely despise it. Know your genre and be okay with not reaching everyone. Really, it's okay.
After my borderline crazy research, I began to set goals. The first goal I set for myself was a doozy! I got it in my head that I was going to write my first chapter in one night. It bombed! I wrote like a fiend and when I read it back, it was crap. I learned quickly not to set unrealistic goals, especially ones that included an amount of chapters, words or pages. Every time I did this I found myself producing garbage just to reach my goal. I also shied away from time dated goals, like finish before December 1st. My advice would be to write when you feel like it and stop when you don't. There is no reason to set an ultimate goal that has a firm date. (Once again, not an expert, so if you love strict goals, go for it!)
Lastly, I began to join anything that had to do with writing or self publishing. Good Reads is amazing for this. It's incredibly helpful to surround yourself with other writers and already published authors. I have found the writing community on a whole to be very welcoming. It's nice to be able to communicate with other writers about your struggles. I have made some amazing friends this way, too. I connected immediately with the author of That Time of the Month, Emily Shaffer. She has been a great resource and an awesome friend. Finding someone who understands how all-consuming this process is will save your family and friends from having to listen to you debate font choices and character names. (I'm pretty sure my husband is ready to kill me.) Even if you only find one person who understands your genre or your goal, that's better than none.
Research, research, research, then write, write, write. This is just the beginning. You think once the book is finished you're done. Think again. There is so much more!