Answering a Question I’m Often Asked: How did you actually write the book?

I posted last week about my successful first signing on the campus of my alma mater. I managed to sell 21 of the 25 books I took with me and discussed how great the overall experience was for me. Well, I was asked many questions by students and faculty alike and I’d like to take the opportunity to answer the single most asked question of me.

“How did you actually write the book?”

Remember this was being asked by college students who often express frustration with writing a very short essay on a topic that is likely uninteresting to them. My response was never the same because each time the question was asked by someone with a different point of view on things and with the intent to learn something different from the previous person. But let me see if I can answer it once and for all.

The one thing I told several people was that you’re always told that to be a good a writer or a writer at all that you have to write. And by this it is often meant that you have to write each and every day. I’ve mentioned in several previous posts that I simply don’t believe in this philosophy one bit. If you are forcing yourself to write even when your creative juices seem to be at a stand still, then what exactly are you accomplishing? I’ll tell you, you’re putting bad writing on paper that you’ll have to later edit or remove completely. How does that help you achieve your writing goal? It doesn’t.

My logic is to treat each individual chapter as if it were a college paper. My longest in school was only nine pages and my longest chapter in my first book was fourteen, but most are well within the length of a regular college essay. Doing this allowed for me to focus on a very particular part of the story and sequence of events rather than have me think of where I’d take the characters several chapters down the road. This writing philosophy allowed time for me to perfect a small portion of the story before moving on to the next small portion.

Another aspect of the same question I was asked during my first signing was what I thought of the process to write a book, whether or not I liked it.

This question was a bit more complicated for me to answer. You see, during my last semester of school this past spring I was terrified of the prospect of writing an entire book. I was. I can remember specifically in April becoming incredibly anxious as the semester was winding down to a close. I was scared of not being able to do it. This was all I’d thought about for more than a year and the thoughts that were coursing through my head were beginning to become more and more real because it was coming time to put up or shut up. Thankfully I was able to put those feelings aside and write me a novel. But here’s how I answered this particular question.

I didn’t enjoy the book writing process as much as I’d hoped. I love the story I wrote and the characters I created, but the process to get to this point was pretty rocky. I went weeks at a time without putting a single word on paper and faced holes in the story that I struggled to overcome. I had no idea how the story would end until I reached the last third of the book. And the final major obstacle I faced was getting people wanting to read it. I don’t mean potential readers, I mean people I know on a personal level. I mentioned several posts ago that I sent my book out to nine beta readers and only four actually read it. This is now what’s happening to me trying to get people to buy it. Which is perfectly fine, but also disappointing.

BUT I managed to finish the book and prove to people that I wasn’t just talking about writing a book, I’ve written one!

Don’t forget that my book is also on Kindle for only $2.99 and is part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library that allows Prime members with a Kindle the opportunity to borrow the book for free! Take a look at the Amazon product page!

In other news, check out where my book sits on my bookshelf. Right between Edgar award winners and New York Times Bestsellers!


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