Writing a Fiction Novel – The Lion’s Den

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The Lion’s Den due for publication April 2015

Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance




Hi Friends,

I thought I would tell you about what the journey has been like so far in getting my first novel, The Lion’s Den ready for launch on April 15th.

When I told him that I had written The lion’s Den,  a good friend of mine told me to get in touch with a woman he knew in Florida, a ghostwriter and collaborator, who helps authors assess their manuscripts and can help get their work ready for self-publishing or for traditional submission to a publishing house.  Her specialty is non-fiction, but she is equally skilled with other types of writing.  I first met Karen Rowe on a Skype video call.  We talked about my novel and she made me feel very positive about its viability whereas I had a lot of insecurities about whether it would ever be good enough for publishing.  Before she read the manuscript, we sat down and spent an hour identifying who my “ideal reader” would be.  I had not given that any thought when I was writing!  All I thought about was the story itself.  I didn’t think about who the actual story would appeal to, and that, I realised after we had pieced together an “Ideal Reader Composite,”  would prove very important in deciding how to direct the marketing and to clue in to what my target demographic would be.   Following an in-depth interview which covered everything from who had read my book so far and what social media I was using  to promote it, Karen was able to put together a viability scorecard, which evaluated how “publishing ready” I am as an author.  Keep in mind, all of this is done before ever the evaluator ever reads the manuscript. Her recommendation was that I spend a minimum of 3-6 months of social media platform building, before ever the book was published, whether I was going the self-publishing route, or going through a literary agent or traditional publishing house.  Publishers, I learned, are looking for authors with a built-in following who can bring their readers  and fans with them and who can demonstrate the ability to market, sell, and promote their own books.

The next step was to put the book through a chapter by chapter feedback and preliminary edit.  Karen is a former literature teacher, so she has lots of experience in editing.  She was able to identify areas of strength and weakness in the manuscript.  She could suggest where re-writes were indicated and where chapters could be put in better order to make the story more readable.  Thankfully, with my work, she found that only minor editing was required, and she sent the manuscript back to me electronically with her recommendations printed in the page margins.  So awesomely convenient for me to do the rewrites and corrections!  Based on her evaluation, Karen was now able make recommendations on where I should go from here.  She was confident that the book is viable, and with a little editing would be publishing-ready.  The big decision would be whether to self-publish, or spend my time submitting query letters and drafting proposals to publishers. She felt that hiring a literary agent at this point would be a waste of time and resources.

From here, Karen put together a book action plan which takes us past the final draft review and into professional book cover design, pre-formatting the manuscript for digital conversion to Kindle and other digital platforms like iBookstore, Sony, Barnes and Noble Nook, and assigning an ISBN.  If the book was to be produced in print, it would have to be formatted for that as well.  All these phases, of course, cost money, even before one book is sold!

So what stage am I at now?  Well, the manuscript is in for final editing.  That should be completed by Wednesday.  A graphic artist, recommended by Karen is working on the cover.  Initial samples will be ready by Monday or Tuesday. The social media platform is in place with accounts open on Twitter, Hootsuite, Google plus,  a professional as well as personal page on Facebook, and this, my own website, www.Authornormacook.com has been up and running since November.  Now, as a person who does not have a large circle of friends, getting exposure on these social media sites is a full time job in itself.  I found that I was not getting as much traffic through the site as I needed to raise the kind of awareness that is needed for a successful book launch.  Karen was able to recommend another Florida based businesswoman who could help me with building a following.  Ginger Rockey-Johnson is a marketing mogul with experience in educating business owners on the use of the internet, covering topics like Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Social Networking, and Internet Marketing Strategies. She is now mentoring me in how to raise awareness about my book.

Well, folks, gone are the days when you begged at the doors of the big publishing houses, hoping against hope that someone would consent to read a chapter or two of your book.  Now people are able to get their manuscripts out in front of the public, who, after all, are  the consumers who will ultimately decide what they want to read.  It takes a lot of guts to actually produce a finished manuscript and get it to the point that it can be put in the hands of the reader.  Whether a book is a big success or a terrible flop, it’s quite an achievement to have made it through the process, and for anyone who has made it to that point, I can only say “Bravo!”

I guess that time will tell whether I have made a good investment or not, but whether The Lions Den will succeed on the literary stage or not, it will be an investment in myself.  I hope that if you are contemplating jumping into the publishing arena yourself, that this has been of some help to you.  Please know that the process comes with a significant price tag, even if you decide to only e-publish.  and I highly recommend working with professional people to be sure you are getting true and honest feedback and information.  If you have a great idea for a non-fiction book.  Karen Rowe is a fantastic person to talk to, as she can help you actually write your text, and is an expert in putting your book together for you.  These people know publishing and work with a team of professionals who will work for you at very reasonable rates to get your work ready for the literary stage.  Now all you have to do is put on your big girl/big boy pants and get over any reluctance you have to self promote. The great thing about this is, if you don’t know where to start,  there is help out there for that too.  Contact me for their contact information if you’re interested.

So, good luck with your journey, wherever it takes you!  Hope we’ll meet some day, or that you will email me and tell me what a success you’ve become!  As my friend Karen would say,

“To Your Success!”

hello my name is norma

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