3 Things I Learned From Writing Snow Wolf

I remember reading a quote once about how all people who are considered experts were formerly beginners of their profession. What I took from this was the fact no matter where we came from and what we’ve been through in life, everyone has the opportunity to succeed. In essence, it doesn’t matter what our childhoods were like because it will never dictate what we accomplish as adults.

Personally, I would still have written my first novel Snow Wolf because writing is what I enjoy. Now I have to prove to myself and those who wish to read my literature that I can rise above the challenges of life and find myself surrounded by the bestselling authors whose work mentored me. Along the way, however, I learned three important truths about the book writing process. If you don’t mind, I would be compassionate enough to describe them below.

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1.) Don’t pause the story to smell the roses. When I submitted the fourth rough draft for my published novel, I already knew the line editor I hired was prepared to puncture numerous holes in the manuscript by removing entire paragraphs. The reason for this was because I used too many sentences to provide description for what environments my characters found themselves in. I would introduce the usual forest scene in the novel and then narrate what everyone was doing. Note to self, a couple sentences was all I really needed. The editor emailed the edited manuscript with the ‘over descriptive paragraphs’ eliminated that totaled almost 12,000 words (nearly 18% of the original 68,000 words I sent them). What I learned was how to use fewer words to describe a scene and carry on without getting carried away with details that instead ruined the smoothness of the book rather than helped visualize for the reader. You would be surprised how less is more in regard to writing novels.

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2.) Potential readers need to know about the novel before publishing. My mistake was to keep Snow Wolf a secret until almost three weeks after I published the novel on Amazon in early December 2015. I felt compelled to give paperback copies to my family members before I truly went public with the novel, a bad choice on my part. Not only did I fail to sell enough copies to earn a suitable amount in royalties, I barely made enough to cover the more minor expenses to write the book. In other words, I lost money because it wasn’t a return in investment financial-wise though an exhilarating experience to learn from professionals about improving my craft. What I learned was that I needed to develop ways to connect with potential readers before the book was published. Though I continue to fail at this marketing thing, I’ve searched high and low for the best advice. Turns out Tim Grahl in his book Your First 1000 Copies knows what he’s talking about. I would recommend reading this since it has removed the scales from my eyes during this lengthy process towards more visualization of myself as a published author with new projects in the works.

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3.) Fame and fortune should not be the end goal for your first book (or any subsequent book). I will admit for everyone with an internet access that I thought Snow Wolf was the best thing since sliced bread. I imagined how my world would magically transform once the enormous royalties started pouring in. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I still haven’t sold more than 20 copies, but the slap across the cheek in the form of a reality check was necessary. The goal of your book first and foremost should be because this is something you’ve dreamed of doing for quite some time. The idea of being an author with a novel on the bookshelves of the internet or in brick and mortar stores was what brought us to this point today. Once that moment occurs, it’s empowering to realize that you no longer are the same individual beforehand. You’re in business to sell books using any means possible that are moral; if you catch my drift. What I learned was sharing something for the entire human population to read that is dear to your heart and you would love to make a living through that manner. If you make enough from selling books to support yourself financially and no more, this is better than making a six figure income from a job that drains you.

If you can remember these three things, you’re far more ahead than where I was about one year ago. About those experts I mentioned earlier, don’t forget they learn new things everyday and use them to improve their craft. Have yourself a wonderful day and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter found at the bottom of my site.

Cheers everybody.


Originally published at www.joelhovell.com.