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Tips on Self-Publishing (Part 1)

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I've been getting a lot of questions about the writing and self-publishing process, so I thought that I would condense my responses into a series of posts.

In Part 1, I'm covering the basics of the writing process, including developing your premise or idea, gathering your information, setting up your story/outline and the process of actually writing the book.  If you have questions, feel free to leave them as comments to this post, or you can always email me at Nokes@NikkiNokes.com.  Enjoy!

Writing process (non-fiction):

On the basic premise or idea:

The writing process started for me with a "why?" In the case of "Maybe...It's You," why are women single? The better your why, the more gas you'll have in your engine to keep going. My why was very important to me, as it was a question that I also needed to answer for myself.

On gathering your information:

Once your "why" is set, then you need to set about finding your answer.   Even if you feel that you are an expert on a particular topic, you should still research. It's only fair to your readers. Make sure that you're right. Everything looks so much more official in print, so you don't want to mislead people that are trusting you with their time and attention. Besides looking to articles, journals, and other third-party information, I suggest taking surveys to give you a change to perform your own analysis of real data. The only thing to worry about is your sample size and diversity. I used Survey Monkey for my surveys. They have free and paid options.

On setting up your "story":

Once you have your research, reading and analyzing your collected information should start giving you the basis of what your actual "story" is going to be. You write based on the information that you have.  If your original theory is disproven, then you need to go back and identify the actual truth that the facts are giving you.

On the writing process:

I started my actual writing with an outline. I ALWAYS do my outlines by hand with pen and paper. It helps me connect more to my thoughts. The outline is the skeleton to the form that my thoughts and ideas are ultimately going to take. Besides editing, the outline is the most important thing.

From the outline, you have to find the time to fill in your "story." I had to steal hours from my already full schedule.  I would wake up extra early to give myself time before work, and I used as much as I could of my weekends.  Writing takes discipline. I have found that if you just dedicate the time, even if it is just to sit in front of the computer staring at your outline, somehow, the information will start to pour out of you. It's an endurance play. If you only have five minutes to squeeze out of some days, then use that five minutes. Another thing that I found very helpful was a voice recorder. When I was in the car or somewhere where I wasn't able to access my writing supplies, I just took verbal notes, and in some cases, dictated entire passages. While the research and planning phase took about a year and a half, writing the book took me about three months.

Coming in Part 2...the editing and proofreading process...including whether or not you should hire a professional editor (short answer, yes!)..
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