Write with publication in mind

When I first began writing, I never thought I’d get published.

I dreamt of it, but never thought it would happen, so I never wrote with it in mind.

This came back to bite me in the bum much later.

Why?

Because you write differently when you have publication in mind.

Now, thinking that your book will one day be published doesn’t mean you start to change what you write, it means you start to change how you write.

This is because books and stories are seasonal. The publishing industry is an ever-turning wheel and you need to insert your work in at the right time and in the right place in order to be successful.

I have books I’ve written that I know will never be published. Some, I never intended to publish, but I know they’ll hit the shelves sometime in the next decade or less. But because I had publishing in mind, my process for writing these stories was very different from my process for writing my first novel, Tainted.

Initially, my intention was to write a story from the viewpoint of the usual sidekick character (Ron Weasley was who I had in mind). I quickly learnt why the sidekick is called just that and promptly abandoned the story. Then, by some fluke or fate, my mum read what I had written. And the most surprising part was, she thought it was good.

She asked me enough times about it that I decided to finish the story. I began crafting the story I titled Eutopia, and it took me a couple of years to get a considerable way through, what with the story constantly developing and all. When I was about to give up on the story, my mum came again with another of her one liners, “You know, this could actually be published.”

That was when the idea of publishing a novel really took root in my heart. And once it did, everything changed. I started pushing myself to learn how to craft good stories, to develop what I had into something amazing, to actually finish what I started. It took only a few months after that to finish what would eventually become the book, Tainted.

If you think a few months is still a long time, I’ve been working on Gods of Valla for over a year now, same with book 3 of the Age of the Anathema, Bladlock, and Legacy of the Damned (what initially started out as the silver chalice). Yes, books can take a long time to create, especially when it entails heavy world-building elements.

Anyway, once the idea of publishing was on the table, the way I did things changed. I started working to deadlines, started learning about industry trends and standards, and how to actually break into the publishing industry. I mean, I was writing an epic fantasy story set in a fantasy world and I had not even considered something as basic as a map! I hadn’t decided what point of view I was writing in, what the themes of the story were and who my target audience was.

There’s a psychological shift that sometimes takes place when you understand that what you are doing is no longer just for leisure. And that shift is really important for success as a writer, because writing isn’t always about the muse. Sometimes, you need to up and get, whether you feel like it or not.

So keep publishing in mind and you’ll find your writing process will change for the better.

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