Conception to Birth: A Writer’s Journey
It was only after four months of trying different ideas, different stories, different genres that the concept of “The Second Coming” struck me one day, out of the blue. As I’m sure most writers do; I often sit and contemplate that one big question; “What if?” It just hit me one day as I was pondering my total lack of progress to date; “What if God got so absolutely sick of man’s inhumanity to man that in a fit of rage he decided to destroy the earth and start again?” The whole concept grew from that initial question; “What if?”
By this stage I already had three different manuscripts of three very different stories and ideas composting away on my computer (incidentally all three stories are still there and have progressed no further since). I clearly had no idea how to progress past the exciting first chapter. Luckily I read one piece of advice that saved me from “newbie” author oblivion – “Just One Step at a Time!” Once I began “The Second Coming” I followed that advice to the letter. I wrote the first chapter and invariably the ideas for the next chapter would come to me, before I completed it.
When I started, I knew what my first chapter was about; I knew what the ending was going to be, but that tiny, little, bit in between….well, that was just a blank. By focusing on one chapter at a time though I was able to progress at what I thought was a remarkable pace. By the end of June 2014 my novel was finished!
Hallelujah! Or so I thought.
OMG! – Who knew editing was such a time-consuming, painful and at times soul-destroying task (not me, that’s for sure!) I sure as hell could not afford a professional editor (in the future I hope that might be the case; but this time it was all my own work). Ultimately it took me until around the end of August or early September 2014 before I pronounced myself satisfied with my work, but the absolute truth is we are NEVER entirely satisfied with our work. Even yesterday as I was flicking through the completed book when it arrived, I looked at something and thought; “damn, I should have done that a bit better”. I suspect that is just the nature of most writers – we do tend to be perfectionists and we are horrified when we see something could have done better; especially when it is too late to change it.
I’m done – Hallelujah! Or so I thought.
At the end of the day you’re not a real author until you’re published. Try as I might to convince myself otherwise, I knew deep down that it was a truism. Besides, I wanted to be published – I didn’t pour my heart out onto this computer keyboard just for my own entertainment and elucidation (although that is definitely part of the process); I really, truly wanted others to derive pleasure from what I’d written also. But how?
In my absolute naive “newbie” mind I thought I could just send it off to Penguin, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, or whoever, and then sit back and wait for the offers to pour in. Twenty seconds of research quickly made me realize I had a monumental task in front of me. Imagine my angst when I discovered that not only could you not communicate directly with the publishers – even those that could (i.e. literary agents) were incredibly picky and choosy about who they represented. Apparently just finding a literary agent to represent me was going to be potentially impossible,
So, what were the other options? If I was even moderately well-off, I could hire all the people I needed to publish my novel. There seemed to be a plethora of self-publishing companies offering their editing, cover designing, formatting and publishing options to independent authors. I have no doubt that these companies perform a wonderful service and fill a very important place in the publishing world, but they were not for me – I couldn’t afford an editor, let alone anything else…so what hope was there? What was left?
That was when I discovered crowd-funding.
I’ve done it! Hallelujah! Or so I thought.
I’m not going to dwell on the length of time that it took for the book to be finally published (almost exactly seven months,) because at the end of the day Pentian produced a quality product that I am immensely proud of. I have no idea how other authors get on with, and communicate with their publishers, but for me it was a tricky business. There was the language barrier (I often received emails in Spanish.Thank God for Google Translate). Their publishing website was in Spanish and I actually didn’t realize some of my responsibilities, until way too late. There was the time difference, which never helped.
The biggest problem that occurred was that of editing. Pentian’s general rule was that they never edit manuscripts. I was totally unaware of that and had always presumed my manuscript would be edited by them; as part of the package. It wasn’t until the first printed proof copy rolled off the production line that they realized there was a problem.
Kudos to Pentian! They broke their own rules and edited my book. Now herein lies the real lesson about self-editing. I consider myself a pretty good editor (I worked as a reporter for a newspaper for a couple of years) and I had fully copy-edited my work on three separate occasions and yet I had missed at least twenty (count them TWENTY) typos, misplaced words or incorrect word usages. It is absolutely true that authors cannot properly edit their own work – I am living proof of that!
Thank you Pentian for saving me from the embarrassment of a badly edited novel hitting the market.
None of that reduces the absolutely wonderful experience of finally seeing my book for sale on Amazon and Google Play, plus the sheer joy of unwrapping my package of printed copies. It is an awesome feeling and one that will live with me forever. I don’t know if the second or third books will evoke quite the same joy and excitement, but I actually suspect they will. I think it might be something that never gets old.
I’ve done it. Hallelujah! Or so I thought.
I know you’ll enjoy it, so do, please consider buying it, reading it, and most importantly of all leaving a review. Authors need reviews, so wherever you buy “The Second Coming” from, please consider just writing a few lines there as a review. It doesn’t have to be much – even one word (for example: “AWESOME” would be good) and of course rate it A review is like food to an Author. Please feed me!
I have included links here to Amazon and Google Play. I haven’t yet found it on iTunes, but I’m promised it will be there, so if you’re an Apple fan, please search for it:
How has this journey affected me and what are my feelings now at the end? They can be summed up very simply actually; humility and gratitude. I am so incredibly humbled and grateful for all the amazing love, support and assistance I’ve received along the way.
So where to now for Grant Leishman – Author?
My second book “Just a Drop in the Ocean” is complete. I just need to get the editing done and it’s good to go The sequel to “The Second Coming” is almost 75% complete. It is called “The Rise of the AntiChrist” and principally follows the lives of Maria and JC’s two eldest children. The third book in the series is entitled “Holy War” and is still just a figment of my imagination, but it is next on the production line.
You can read some information about these books elsewhere on this website under the heading: “My Books”
After that – well, the skies the limit. We are only limited by our imaginations! At the end of the day: Writing truly is the most fun you can have – with your trousers on!