Guest Post- J.M. Array talks about Idea, to Book, to Publishing and #Giveaway of Two Lives… One Diary

Today I have J.M. Array on the the blog talking about ideas, to book,  to being published.  I don’t have time to read all the books in the world but I like to occasionally let some self published authors come on as a guest.  I have not read J.M. Array’s book, but one of you can win it!  Make sure you read to the end for the details. 
You can also read more about him at DJ’s Life in Fiction.  DJ did an interview with him and it’s a great way to get to know him a little better!  Check that out here.

I’ll let J.M. take over from here!

I am a 21 year old from Puerto Rico. I am currently in College studying Computer Science. I should graduate by May 2012. My dream job would be to work at Google or Microsoft. That’s one of my dreams. Cause another one would be to be able to work full time from my home, be it writing or doing multiple other projects, or maybe a combination of both.
Right now I am trying to get my writing career started. I love writing and when I do, the whole world around me stops and I get emerged within the story to such a point that the story just writes itself, it is like a world of its own.

Two Lives, One Diary Description:

Robert has never had a dream before. On his 18th birthday everything changes and he starts to dream. Because this is an unusual experience for him, he decides to have a dream-diary. Soon after that, he realizes that his dreams are directly connected to his real life. Suddenly, he finds himself living two lives…yet he only has one simple diary.

From Idea, to Book, to Publishing
Have a great idea for a book but you have no idea on how to get started? Perhaps this post will help you out a little bit. This is a general listing of the steps an author must take, in order to get a book done, or at least what I have done.
1) An Outline
The first time an idea hits, it can be very overwhelming. A lot of details start to flow into your mind and if you don’t manage to get all this thoughts down in paper (or a Word Document in my case) then you might lose them forever and you don’t want that. So the first thing you must do is write them all down and start creating an outline.
What does an outline consists of? Basically it will have a general idea of all the events that will take place through the book. What I do personally is create a bullet points list of the different events. Example:
  • ·         Alex gets into the car and calls Michelle
  • ·         When Alex arrives at the station he finds himself with Mike.
  • ·         Alex learns who the killer is and decides to do some research.
  • ·         Etc
You can do it as specific or as generic as you want. Instead of doing it so specific, in case you don’t have so many details in your head already, you can dedicate each bullet point to the general idea of what will occur in the chapter itself. And when you get to writing, you might be able to develop it in more detail.
The outline has two subsets that you should take into consideration:
A) Creating your characters
This is pretty important. You must create your main characters. I actually do this in my mind, but they suggest writing it all down. So basically this is a “do as I say” situation instead of a “do as I do”. So when you are creating your characters what do you need to do? Basically name them (duh!) and give them a background. For main characters they say that you should have like two pages and for secondary characters a page or so will do. It is important that you know where your characters come from, because it will define them; it will determine how they react to certain situations or even more importantly: how they act all the time. It also makes them more real and believable.
B) Having a beginning, a climax (also known as middle), and an ending
While writing your outline you must be sure that you have all of the above. Each story consists, first and foremost of a beginning. The beginning should occur in a place where the user is introduced to the character, but also in a place where it is already in the middle of something interesting, close to the plot. Starting a book/story far away from the plot can cause your users to get bored quickly and never get to the interesting part.
The second thing there needs to be is a climax. A climax is when everything in the story suddenly changes. The typical climax of a love story is: the couple is finally together but something happens that they have to split up. That is a climax but of course it is not the ending, because they have to get back together. This takes us to the final point: the ending.
The ending should wrap everything up, at least almost everything. If we use the example mentioned before, then here is where the couple gets together and they go off to live happily ever after. The important thing is the transition from the climax to the ending, where slowly everything starts to make sense and everything starts to get solved. That is if you don’t want to leave your readers in a cliffhanger of course. Then that is another case. But the MAIN plot of the book should be solved.
2) Writing the Book itself
Having done everything above is only the first step. Now it comes the time where we have to develop all the ideas where it actually makes sense. And of course making sense is not enough, we have to make it entertaining, engaging and most of all: believable. So how do we do this? Well there isn’t a real formula on how to get this done. Just follow the outline you have and let it flow. That’s the best advice I could possibly give. Just write it. The most important thing is: do not worry about grammatical errors or anything for that matter. If you stop your flow to go back and edit, you will lose it. You need to keep with the flow and keep writing like a madman until you can’t write no more. The next time you come back, you keep on writing. Once you are done with the whole book that is when you start editing. That is when you start worrying about the technicalities. This brings us to the next point:
3) Getting it ready for publish
You can easily pay someone to edit the book for you; this is the easy way out and if you have the money to do it, feel free to do so. If you don’t have the money, or even if you don’t want to pay for an editor, you can do this yourself. Keep in mind: it is not easy at all but it is very necessary. Basically you will need to re-read your book over and over again to make sure there are the least possible errors. There will always be some here and there, but you need to clean it up as much as possible. Seeing a grammatical error can tick some people off and they can hate you for it.
I personally like to edit it myself, or if someone helps me, I like to see what they are doing. Sometimes editors change your writing style, and you need to stay authentic to who you are.
4) Getting it Publish
This is perhaps the hardest part. You have two options: traditional publishing or self publishing. So lets talk about both, shall we?
A) Traditional Publishing
The name says it all; it is the traditional way to get published. How can we do this though? Well you can either find an agent to help you with publishers or you can find a publisher yourself. In order to do both, you are going to have to do a lot of research, send out a lot of query letters, and be extremely patient. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and sometimes a lot of self-esteem because the rejections will pile up pretty quickly. No matter how awesome your book is, you will get rejected from time to time. This is, though, the most respected way to get published. But this is slowly changing…
B) Self-Publishing
Self-published authors don’t get as much respect sometimes because everyone can self-publish. As of lately though, there are many self-published authors that are changing that perspective. Not only because they are good and entertaining, sometimes even better than the traditional ones, but because they are actually making MORE money per copy than what they would be doing with a traditional publisher.  There are a few ways to do this one as well; you can decide to pay a company for them to publish your book in paperback/hardcover. They will only place it in different online stores though. They won’t deliver it to bookstores, this you will have to take care of yourself. The other way is for you to self-publish it (literally) through eBooks. This is the latest sensation and it is starting to take off. So you should definitely look into it. Start with Smashwords.com, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com (if you publish it over at Smashwords.com, they should be able to place it over at Barnes and Noble).
5) Spreading the word
Now that you have your book published you need to spread the word about it because if no one knows it exists, they won’t buy it. In order to do this you are going to need a blog (this helps keep your readers updated with what you are doing) and you need to make connections with other authors. The best way that I have found to do this, is to participate in different writer’s forums (like Kindleboards.com). But to me, the most effective one is twitter. Through twitter you can connect to other authors and interact with them in a very easy and lay back way. I have made a lot of friends there in just a matter of weeks and it definitely helps when it comes to spreading the word. Not only that, but authors always like to help each other out, so it is a fun community.
Another thing you should do is search for book-bloggers. This are people that love to read books and they have a blog so they can talk about them. You can just email them, telling them about your book and you can offer them a free copy if they review it for you. This is definitely the best way to get yourself out there, since the blog probably has a few followers that already trust the owner. So if he/she likes your book, chances are their followers will go out and buy it as well.
That is pretty much it. Of course, there are  a lot of steps and sometimes it is a hard thing to get done, but that feeling when you finish your book, or when you get it out there, or when someone reads it and tells you how much they loved it, is just amazing. There are no words for it. So if you have an idea, just sit down and get to work. Get that book out there because you never know…you can very well be the next J.K. Rowling.
Thanks a lot to Candace for this amazing opportunity to guest post on her blog. 
Want to find J.M. Array on the web?
To purchase:
Want to win?  

One winner will win the book in ebook form, in the form you wish (PDF, kindle, etc)
Open Worldwide
Must be 13 or older to enter.
This book is recommended for ages 15+
Leave a comment with contact info to enter.

 

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Comments

  1. This is actually quite exciting!
    I really liked this post! It was really interesting.
    I’ve been wanting to read more books written with a male protagonist/by a male author.
    Sounds like a really good read :)

    arielle(dot)yeap(at)gmail(dot)com

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