The process of publishing What Happens in New York took me just under a year from start to finish. That included writing over 200,000 words (95,000 of which made it into the book); plotting; character development; copy editing (badly); proofreading (badly); cover design; interior formatting for print; formatting for Kindle; writing the blurb and all the other copy that went along with it; uploading to CreateSpace; uploading to Kindle, and marketing.
With the exception of some tough love editing from my writing group, I did it all myself.
By the end of the process, I was exhausted.
It’s been almost five months since the book was published, and I’m still recovering mentally and physically from it.
I have learnt a lot from writing and publishing What Happens in New York, though, and the biggest thing I’ve learnt is not to rush things.
There are so many pieces of self-publishing advice that say to get book 2 of your series out as soon as you can. Ideally within the first three months. What this advice doesn’t factor in is a) when you’re doing it all yourself, and b) how drained it can leave you when your life doesn’t revolve around writing/publishing.
So here I am to give you reasons why you should do the opposite of what all those self-publishing blogs and podcasts tell you. You won’t make money faster this way, but you will be more likely to put something out that you can be proud of and that will give your readers more reasons to rave.
The Blizzard Approach
Blizzard are most well-known for creating World of Warcraft. They’re also responsible for Starcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch. Each of these games has a loyal fanbase, as does Blizzard itself.
Back in 2007, rumours began to fly about another game called Titan. It would be an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game), like World of Warcraft. Fans knew little about it but were eager for information. Whenever Blizzcon, their annual fan conference came around, fans expected a Big Announcement.
It never came.
In 2013, it was announced that Titan had been scrapped.
It cost millions of dollars to make a game.
But Blizzard weren’t happy.
They didn’t want to release a game that wasn’t up to their usual standards.
So they didn’t.
They moved on and created Overwatch. Some of Titan made its way into Overwatch, but nobody knows how much of it.
Overwatch was so successful that it hit 15 million players in less than 3 months.
Had they carried on with Titan and not admitted defeat, Overwatch never would’ve existed.
Lessons to be Learnt
Rushing your work in progress can lead to disappointment for your fans. It can lead to you being unhappy with the finished product that you’ve introduced to the world.
The most important thing should be that you put out something that you’re proud of. If you’re proud of it, it will come across in the way that you talk about it, and that enthusiasm will encourage others to check out your story.
If you rush things, you’re less likely to be happy with the finished product (as I was).
What these self-publishing blogs and podcasts also don’t always mention is that they hire people for copyediting, proofreading, cover design, and sometimes even to upload to Kindle/CreateSpace/iBooks/etc. This saves up a lot more time for writing.
But we don’t all have the money to hire professionals to help us. When you don’t have heaps of savings and can’t afford to stockpile, it’s easier said than done.
Realistically, it’s not always possible to get a book out quickly. Books need to sit and stew for a while before we unleash them on the world. It’s that fresh perspective that allows us to see stories as our readers would, and to improve on them before they get into the hands of our readers.