What it feels like to finish a novel

It feels like this: https://twitter.com/DaveSchoools/status/855533732773494785

Fifteen minutes ago, I pressed submit in CreateSpace. For both the book interior and cover files of my novel, Runaway Millionaire.

It's being reviewed by the CreateSpace team and I should be notified in 24 hours if an issue was found.

I've been working on the novel since November 2015. Now that it's finished, it feels like I've had a limb amputated and phantom nerves are still trying to detect stimuli. No more character problems to solve or events to create. 

"I should be working on my novel" is no longer a thought. It's finally done. 

This novel has been the biggest solo-project I've undertaken in my life. In terms of time-spent, nothing compares to this. I've put over a thousand hours into these pages. 

In the beginning, it was easy. Excitement, flow, newness. It's thrilling to see the breadth and thickness of the document materialize. The middle gets a bit dry and busy, but the ending picks back up. After the last sentence, I cried "Huzzah." I've written a book. 

That initial 56k-word manuscript was about 1/20th of the way to completion.

This was my novel-writing journey in rough bullet points:

- initial concept dictated into note on phone on 7-hour car ride

- 5 months of filling in outline in Evernote

- switching to Google Docs, finished draft 1

- shared with friend who suggested the story would be better in 3rd-person over 1st-person POV

- rewrote manuscript

- shared with grandparents who suggested a second plotline following another major character

- manuscript nearly doubled in size

- shared with sister-in-law who suggested plot changes and character twists

- severe editing, character creations and changes

- shared with friends who fact-checked and offered insight into realism

- hired professional editor to do a developmental edit

- rewrote manuscript, taking out and adding in chapters left and right, dejunking and polishing conflicts, character arcs, and dialogue

- shared with wife and first friend to do final proofread

- minor changes

- downloaded trial of Photoshop and designed book cover

- received feedback from /r/writing subreddit and edited book cover

- took manuscript from Google Docs and placed in 5.5" x 8.5" Indesign document

- page-by-page, formatted the 403-page manuscript, with chapters lead-ins, page numbers, italics, section breaks, and copy editing

- created frontmatter and backmatter of book

-uploaded to CreateSpace

-reformatted every single page in Indesign for best fit margins

-final review on CreateSpace

- submitted files

Ask anybody who's published a book, and they'll tell you it's much more work than you expect. I found this to be utterly true.

I saw a quote in the signature line of a member of the CreateSpace community that captured the journey well: 

"There's a word for writers who persevere... published."

That's the only word that matters if you write professionally because, if it's true, then it means you've broken your teeth grinding out a work of art. 

The only thing that kept me going was the thought that if I didn't publish it, I would have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours for nothing. If time is money (which, as a freelance writer, it is), then that's thousands of dollars down the drain. I knew after the third month, there was no way I wasn't going to publish something. Even if it was amateurish. 

The problem with writing a book that a blogger doesn't face is the fact that a book is a permanent, non-editable piece once it's published. (You can make corrections in future editions, but once it's printed, there's no going back).

This set-in-stone nature of a book puts pressure on the author to make sure it's absolutely perfect. The problem with perfection is it takes forever. The longer a project takes, the more likely you'll give up or rush through it. That's what makes a book take so excruciatingly long to complete.

That's why I feel weird right now. That's why it feels like I'm missing an arm. It's not there to work on anymore, it's gone. 

Time to release it to the world and see what everyone else thinks...

If you're interested in writing a book and self-publishing, there're swathes of information on the web and scads of people who want to do it for you for money. I wanted to do it myself to save money (I don't have a FT job) and learn the process. Now that I have one under my belt, I won't be too surprised if another crops up at some point in my life.

Happy to share more if anyone has questions. 

Will let you know when the book is available on Amazon. Join this email list to make sure you don't miss the announcement: http://runawaymillionaire.com.





What I'm working on right now

This is what the decompartmentalization of faith looks like