Ryan Clement Touchdown 140With a first self-published book, finishing the first draft feels like crossing the goal line. The second time around, you know better.

The first time I produced the manuscript of a novel, I was blissfully ignorant of what self-publishing was all about. For that matter, I was only slightly more aware of the ins and outs of following the traditional route. After spending a few months learning about query letters and then researching which agents might (a) be interested in my genre of books, (b) actually have published authors in that genre, (c) have indicated that they were taking on new authors, and then crafted inquiries in the various forms each of them mandated, I spent a few more months collecting form rejection emails.

After absorbing the fact that this was, as the Brits’ say, a mugs game, I then turned to researching what self-publishing was all about. That was equally challenging and time-consuming. When at last I felt myself sufficiently well-informed to take the plunge, I cut a check to a POD outfit that would help me turn my manuscript into actual eBook and print formats and submit them to the various outlets.

Following that decision, I spent more months holding up my non-financial part of the bargain, and became acquainted first hand with the advantages and disadvantages of the approach that I had chosen.

And, of course, I set my feet upon that long, tragi-comic, (how to say this delicately) “character-building” path of frustration referred to as “book promotion.”

And then, for reasons that demonstrably have little to do with documented success, I decided to do it again.

For starters, that proved to be easier said than done. I turned out the first draft of book number one in thirty weeks, posting a new chapter a week at a different blog from this one, missing my self-imposed weekly commitment only once. I followed the same course the second time around for a dozen weeks  until I set it aside to focus more fully on marketing book one.

Picking book two up again proved to be far more difficult, with more fits than starts interrupting my troubled progress. The reasons were many, but suffice it to say for now that finally – after almost three years – I finished the first draft of my second book last week.

So… I find myself today at the second stage of producing a book, much more knowledgeable about next steps than first time around, but also painfully aware of how many steps there are, and how long it will take me to bring a book to market that I can be proud of.

My intention is to detail these steps here as I take them, and my hope is that by doing so I may save others some of the time and effort I expended, not to mention the mistakes that I made, finding my way the first time around.

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