How Many Steps To Self-Publish a Novel?

“All right! There are thousand things that have to happen in order, we are on number 8, you’re talking about number

–Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell in the movie Apollo 13.

This quote came to mind this week as I finished my next novel’s first draft. It’s written in pencil in just over one full notebook. Sure, it’s an old-fashioned method, but it works for me. There was a time I thought this was slowing me down, but now I’m embracing this as part of my process.

Why fight against something that works? Compared to the speed of my first novel, this one is going much faster.

Even though I call this my first draft, the one written in pencil, this is actually step two. First, I wrote an outline to guide me through the story I want to tell.

If you are anxiously awaiting the next book in the Landow Creek series, don’t get too excited. This first draft is a mess. The storyline wanders all over the place. By the time I got to the end, I felt like I was telling a different story than where I started.

You would have thought the outline would help keep me on track, but sadly, no. The characters took me in a different direction.

And you know what? I’m ok with that.

Now, I am starting the second draft—typing this penciled mess into my Scrivener program (the app I use to manage longer-form writing, like novels). Sometimes, I have to squint to decipher my awful handwriting. It’s good that I’m the one doing this because I’m sure no one else could ever read it.

This stage of my process is somewhere between simply typing in the manuscript and starting to edit. Occasionally, I add a better word choice, but mostly, I leave notes to myself in each chapter about things that need to be addressed in the next draft.

You read that right.

The next draft.

There will be a third draft, a fourth draft, and likely a fifth.

At this moment, it feels a little overwhelming, but I keep reminding myself that The Inheritance was in even worse shape at this stage of writing, and it worked out.

Speaking of The Inheritance, have you read it yet? You’ll want to do that before this one comes out to have a foundation for what happens next.

Happy reading!