Turning a manuscript into a book

Turning a manuscript into a published book

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Turning a manuscript into a book.

By David Joel Miller, writer, blogger, and mental health professional.

What are you going to do with that manuscript?

My writing a book began because I had something I wanted to say. I didn’t want to be one of those people who spent my whole life saying I was going to write a book and never did. As an aside here, I think of myself as an “indoor mountain climber.” I am always looking for a new challenge to master.

My top three-character strengths are:

  1. Love of learning
  2. Creativity
  3. Curiosity.

The idea of building on your character strengths comes from the field of positive psychology. As a therapist, just treating people to get them over their depression never seems like enough. I wanted to find out what it took to have a happy, joyful, and contented life. For more of all that thinking, take a look at my mental health blog counselorsoapbox.com

So, given my top character strengths, it came naturally that I would not only want to write the book, but I would want to learn and understand the process of going from an idea to a finished product. I was hoping that some people would actually read the book.

Am I writing a nonfiction book or a novel?

I struggled with that choice for quite some time. Ultimately, I decided to do both. I took a number of the blog posts I had written about overcoming life’s problems, added some more material, did some editing, and the result was a nonfiction mental health book. Someday I’ll get back to working on nonfiction books, but that hasn’t happened yet.

I printed copies of my first nonfiction book using the printer attached to my computer, hole-punched them, and put them in binders. Then I asked a few friends to look at the book. I got some useful feedback and made some revisions. Eventually, I published that book. My biggest regrets are that I didn’t get more beta readers and do more revisions before I decided to publish. On the other hand, had I kept revising, I might never have published anything.

Next came my first novel.

While I was waiting for feedback on my nonfiction book, I started work on a novel. There are several stories behind that decision, but I’ll leave those for another post.

While finishing up the nonfiction book, I kept working on my novel. As a result, I got better at taking a book writing project from start to finish. Like most beginners in any field, I could see what I was accomplishing, but I still didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I gave copies of my first novel to a second set of friends for feedback.

Again, the feedback was helpful, and encouragement from friends felt good, but at that point, I couldn’t identify areas that needed improvement. What I did identify were all those steps that come after finally saying the book is done but before it could be available for people to purchase.

This all happened when things in the self-publishing field were changing rapidly.

My first two books were published just as CreateSpace was being folded into KDP. I quickly discovered that just because the book looked good when viewed on my computer in Microsoft Word, it didn’t look the way it should when viewed on a kindle or printed out into a paperback.

There were certainly features of the process that I struggled to learn. However, by the time I returned to using them for my subsequent books, many of those steps had changed.

Both books got their debut.

Eventually, my first two books became available as kindle editions and paperbacks. I briefly tried “going wide.” but ultimately, I decided that the right thing for me was to be exclusive with Amazon and have my books available on Kindle unlimited. While the sales aren’t huge, some months, the revenue from Kindle Unlimited reads exceeds the revenue from sales of books.

The next step in my journey was learning how to publish my books.

I’ll tell you more about that in an upcoming blog post.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller.

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For more information about David Joel Miller’s work in mental health, please visit the counselorssoapbox.com website.

For my videos on mental health, substance abuse, and having a happy life, please see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

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