3. How I Chose My Genre
By A. W. Clarke
So here I am all psyched up about writing a book, when all of these discouraging thoughts come into my mind. What will I write about? How long should the book be? However would a publishing company accept a newbie author? Where will I find the time?
Right about here, is where most people with an idea give up. But I’ll tell you, if you give up at this point, or any point in your goals, you will definitely realize an opportunity lost and failed. So, you can either accept that you will not find success at something, or simply set a goal and try. I cannot stress that last part enough.
Set a goal and try.
You can also set a series of goals and try your best to reach each one. Just one at a time. Don’t even think about the magnitude of it all. Just focus on reaching one goal at a time. Better yet, write a simple list of those goals on a piece of paper and tape it to a place you see every day, like the bathroom mirror. Every time you look in the mirror, get inspired to better yourself. One way to do that is to accomplish a small part of the next goal on the list. I guarantee you that you will start to feel amazed by the drive you will discover in yourself. After all, unless you start to cross off each line in that list, it will just stay there and never get fulfilled. Let that small list be your source of passion.
Here’s another effective way to find and continue motivation. Tell someone what you are doing.Don’t tell someone you are “thinking” of writing a book. Tell them you “are” writing a book. If you are already a somewhat driven person, then knowing that you already told someone you will be producing something will keep your motivational engine running, lightly pressing the back of your mind to work a little on your goal each time you get a chance.
So, what will I write about?
Truth be told, I am a very technical person. I do enjoy music and the arts. But being a tradesperson, most of what I know in my day to day life is buried in the sciences. I had actually thought about writing a history book once, almost ten years ago. I even started typing out a framework for the book. But it was quickly shelved, as I thought it would be too hard to create. Then, of course, work got in the way. I had no plans to quit my job in order to take a chance at writing. The bills still had to get paid, the family supported.
So, I suppose that I’d need something striking to get me started with this literary goal I had established. The passion was there to start, but what would keep me going? It would have to be something I really enjoyed thinking about. Perhaps it was something that had always intrigued me. Maybe something of fantasy, where I could make it all up on my own, with less technical research and no boundaries. It took a while to figure out. Then, one day it came to me.
I might be a techie by day. But the other side of me enjoys a heartfelt movie moment as much as the next person. I’d like to think that through my years, I have learned a lot about love, relationships, and emotion through not only my own experiences, but by those of others. I’ve been blessed with good friends who have leaned on me at one time or another, wanting an ear to listen to their stories of love come and gone. All of these stories held in them the core of some story I could produce.
I considered a novel of a romantic nature for two reasons. First, I’ve always found intense beauty in those moments where our emotional strings are tugged at hard in some love story. These moments of raw emotion are very powerful, and can be related to by almost anyone. This would make it easy for me to reach a sizeable audience. I could write about romance.
The second reason why I chose this genre was because with fiction, the sky’s the limit. I imagined it would be easier to produce something entirely out of my head, with no limitations to real world entities. My writings could wander out as far as I'd like, and be as distorted or unearthly as I desired. Then as I edit it through, my story would fall somewhere between pure fiction and tangible reality. This would make writing much easier for me than writing about a more technical, non-fiction genre.
So a romance novel it was. Now I had chosen my genre. But it still felt a bit daunting. I mean, being good with my hands, it felt new to leave that and conjure thoughts about the heart and mind. But that in itself was enough of a catalyst, as I decided it would make the final goal more rewarding. The idea of creating something I was not entirely familiar with-and have it be any good at all- fuelled my drive to succeed even more!
Maybe I was starting to be a bit audacious.
Though that wasn’t my usual style, it felt like good fuel to the spark. So I kept going!
4. Where Would I Turn to Get Published?
By A. W. Clarke
With a genre in mind, and a courageous regard to succeed at something I never would have considered twenty years ago, I reassured myself that this was definitely going to happen!
But before I got too ahead of myself, that pesky voice returned.
Who was going to publish me, the little fish in the big, big pond?
Remember my analogy about looking in the mirror with that goal list taped nearby? I was staring at the answer every morning.
It was me! I had heard from many writers about how their manuscripts were rejected by various publishing companies. Even Stephen King was rejected many times before he found success with a publishing company.
Enter our saviour...The internet age! I realized that through internet resources, I had the ability to publish my creation and make it available to an audience.
The answer to publication came to me as I hadn’t even written much of my book yet. But I had recalled my strongest skill that I learned back in school…the skill of resourcefulness. There were in fact so many resources available to the average person now more than even twenty years ago. I could take to the library and read up on self-publication and promotion- and I did! I spoke to friends who were first time writers and others who wrote for newspapers or magazines. I was surprised at the information I could find through word of mouth. But for me, the most promising solution to publication was found online. I had been told of an online self-publishing company called lulu.com. There are others, like Smashwords, Amazon KDP, etc…
I chose lulu.com because it was created by a Canadian entrepreneur who lived in the same city where I worked. It also appeared easy to use, but that being said, I’m sure I would find other sites easy to use with enough practice. The point is, I picked a vehicle for which to piece together a solution to part of my final goal, and decided to stick with it!
This print-on-demand site allows the writer to upload his or her manuscript, convert it to the desired format for publication, preview it, and then make it available for circulation and purchase.
Voila! Most of the solutions to my needs of being published were found on one website. That being said, the process was fairly easy, but not without its hang ups. When needed, I checked online for tutorials to find solutions to the odd time I was stuck uploading, converting, or changing a setting for my book. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves in this journey.
What is important at this stage of the game is stating that I was able to find another solution to the puzzle that represented the smaller goals that make up my one final goal: to successfully write a book and publish it!
As long as you are moving forward, it’s a good sign. Baby steps. Baby steps!
Tune in tomorrow, for parts 5&6 of my journey of writing....