As I am wrapping up the third book of the Epic Fantasy series, Soul Forge, I am humbled by the many people who come together to bring my fantasy books to publication. I also wonder how I actually find the time to write with all the other tasks I need to attend to. That’s where my team comes in. A team that I am so fortunate and grateful for.
At age 51, the decision to leave my position in the police sector for a full-time writing career was not easy. The pay, the pension, the health benefits, the vacation time was all great, but the stress was killing me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to follow my dream and passion for writing and now this is my full-time job. No pay, no pension, no health benefits, I work at least 12 hour days and can’t afford a vacation!
But I am happy.
Reflecting on this as I take a break from polishing the suggested edits, I realize just how much people power it takes to put a book out there.
Once I have an idea for a story, I sit and write. Plotting along the way, details and timelines are on a second screen that I refer to and modify as the story unfolds. I aim to write about 2,000–3,000 words each day. The following morning, I spend editing those words, doing a little social media and then the afternoon and evening I am back to writing again. The cycle continues. It helps to have this kind of routine.
Personally, I love images in books. They provide a deeper connection with the story and visuals of important scenes can make the reader’s experience that much more immersive. Not to mention, it helps the amazing artists out there who are in the same poor boat as me!
I have two incredibly talented artists on my team. Marco Pennacchietti from Italy and the multi-talented, Ian Bristow from the United States.
Once the manuscript is completed, my entrepreneurial wife does a complete read through with line edits, spelling, grammar and punctuation checks to prepare it for the editing stage.
Next, my editor from Scotland, Michelle Dunbar, gives the book a thorough review.
Now my work gets tougher. I take her suggestions and decide whether to accept or reject them. It takes many hours of combing through some 400 pages of text to ensure that everything lines up and flows well.
It's not over yet. Enter the beta reader stage. Family, friends and past co-workers are so giving of their time. They are provided with a copy of the manuscript and have one month to read it and return to me with their hardcore opinions and reviews. As a thank you, I acknowledge them in the book and provide them with a signed copy upon publication. I hope they are worth something someday!
After I take the beta readers’ suggestions into consideration, I place the wonderful images inside the book. Then my wife handles the final proofreading, polishing, formatting and with loving hands passes it back to begin the process of self-publishing the completed manuscript.
So many steps. So many people. So much money. So worth it.