writing

The Process of Writing a Book

My last blog post was to tell readers that I am in the process of writing my next book, Epic Slavic Education, and hope to publish this fall.

I’ve written nine books and published them under my own imprint called, Less Traveled Roads. I have a specific process I go through as I write my books, then prepare them for publication, then ultimately publish them, then make the public aware of their availability (market them).

The first steps are always research. In writing a non-fiction book, the research was more intense than I’ve done for fiction books.

The next step is writing and rewriting and rewriting. I tend to write loose and edit tight. This means I don’t worry much about spelling and grammar or sentence structure in my first draft. I just get the ideas on the page while they’re fresh and full of enthusiasm.

Once the first draft is finished, I get serious and begin my second draft. During this work, I fuss over sentence structure and tighten up wording, eliminate information, rearrange information, and add whatever is missing.

I like to order a proof of the book at this point so I can see what it will look like and read it from the book, instead of continuing reviewing the manuscript on my computer or on copy paper. Print on demand allows me to order one or two proofs, and for me, it’s well worth the effort. Plus, it gets me into that formatting frame of mind.

Keep in mind, at this point, I may be on my 6th month of working on the project.

When I get the proof in my hands, all the formatting mistakes leap off the page in clean black and white! I can see exactly what must be done and I then attack that task at hand. If I’m lucky, I can get a family member or two to read it for me and give me their thoughts. Then, after a few weeks of rethinking and fixing and fussing, the book is ready for some tough nuts to give it a look.

Generally, I look for people I don’t know or only know a little. Strangers are far more honest and harder on the writing than friends or relatives, yet they mind their manners and aren’t rude. At this point in the writing process, I need absolute honesty. I must know what is wrong, hard to understand, or unnecessary. I do not want to publish a book with mistakes or anything the reader must work hard to understand. It’s my job as a writer to make whatever I write a pleasant reading experience.

As this book is about Czech and Slavic history through the eyes of the Czech artist, Alphonse Mucha, I turned to Dan Sanely, the person behind the Nebraska Bohemian Facebook page. I have chatted on FB with Dan, but don’t know him personally. Being the genuinely good person he is, when I took a shot and asked him to give my manuscript a look, he happily agreed and even ordered one of my fiction books. So far, the information he’s given me has been right in line with my research, and he’s also given me some insights into the language. Dan is a wealth of information, and I am delighted to have his help with this project.

I also hired a professional editor to go through every sentence and make sure I didn’t offend the gods of grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. I’m sure she’ll earn every penny of her fee. Turns out, Anna Weir, of Anna Weir Edits studied religious history in college, and as my book which she’s editing, Epic Slavic Education, has quite a bit of religious history,

it seems I have the perfect team in place to help me get this book ready for publishing.

I am about to begin working on my marketing plan. Soon, I’ll have the edited book in hand and can make corrections according to the editor. I may have some additional information to add through Dan’s input within a week or two as well. Everything is falling nicely into place. Maybe I will be ready to publish by November.

Stay tuned for more information about my upcoming non-fiction book, Epic Slavic Education.