When you’re writing your masterpieces, how do you plan, edit and publish your work? Are you a pantser? A reviewer or an indie author? Or are you organised and plan using spreadsheets and Gantt charts? Do you revise once you’ve completed your work-in-progress and do you use agents or traditional publishers?
As you start your writing journey, you’ll find yourself contending with these three major workflow issues at some point. Let’s look at them in a bit more detail.
- Your planning personality.
In the bookstagram world (the author world of Youtube & Instagram), your style of plotting falls into two categories: Planner or Pantser.
A ‘plotter’ is someone who plans every detail of their book before writing it while a ‘pantser’ is more of a ‘go-with-the flow’ type writer. A pantser will wait to see what develops as they write because they’re using the writing itself as a way to work out their plot.
Personally, I’m not sure if plotting a novel falls neatly along these two lines. I plan as much as I can before beginning to write but I will change my outline when new ideas emerge during the writing.
Whatever your system is, and whether you’re a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’ or something in-between, plotting a cohesive novel with a clear structure is probably one of the hardest jobs you will have. I’d encourage you to keep writing, keep thinking and don’t give up. You will find a way through.
2. Your editing personality.
Do you re-read the previous session’s writing and edit this before starting on a new scene or do you complete your work-in-progress and then edit?
As I’ve talked about before (here), I have a very messy writing process. I write a first draft without editing or re-reading but halfway through I might come up against a block. What I’ll do then is revisit the first chapters to help me work out what I want to say. If I’m still stuck, I’ll go back to the whiteboard and re-configure the three-act structure diagram I use to plan my work. I’ll also revisit the plot outline to see if I can rework the structure.
Another part of editing is how to deal with the internal editor that talks to you while you write. Many writer’s struggle to quiet this voice during their initial writing but it’s vital to do this. The internal editor can come later – it has a job to do but not now.
For now, the main job of the editing process is to fix the plot holes and make the book’s overall structure work. Then, and only then, should the internal editor be invited to the editing task.
3. Your publishing personality.
Are you the type of writer who longs for the status of traditional publishing? Or do you want to have more control over your finished product? Are you an ‘authorpreneur’ who is willing to do what it takes to learn the business of writing or would you rather have an agent/publisher take care of this?
There are two main ways to publishing and each depends on your own personality and what you want to achieve out of your writing. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each.
- Traditional publishing
- The status of being chosen by a publishing house
- Much of the preparation is done for you
- Easy access to booksellers (online & bricks and mortar)
- Highly competitive
- Lengthy lag times between submission and publication
- May require agent submission/see dot points above
- Indie publishing
- Control over process including sourcing a team of experts (Author service providers)
- Once expenses are accounted for, profits belong with the author
- Timeline deliveries rest solely with the author (no waiting months for submission results)
- Project management requires individual contractual arrangements with multiple suppliers
- Time-consuming. Time that could be spent on writing is now spent on managing the publishing process
- Responsibility for costs, project, marketing falls solely with the author
Indie (or self) publishing has become much easier with the advent of e-books and programs like Vellum but it still requires a lot of hard work. You will find there is no right or wrong answer to the conundrum of traditional v indie publishing. My most important piece of advice is to do your research into the pros and cons of each and make an informed decision that suits you best.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.
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Until next time,