I made this!

We have a justifiable pride when we complete a DIY project (that’s “Do It Yourself” for the acronym challenged). I remember putting together several Heathkit electronic devices—that defunct company sold many kits for DIY projects from radio amateur equipment to stereo component and color TVs (my mother’s first color TV was a Heathkit). You have to be careful with DIY, though, when you write a novel. In this month of NaNoWriMo (“National Novel Writing Month”), the ultimate take on DIY in the writing business, watch out!

First, you can’t rip through it from your what-if or plot idea to a finished MS (that’s “manuscript”—acronymese is a disease!). Whether your content editing comes after a rough draft that follows an outline (making you a “plodder”—so why are you participating in NaNoWriMo?), or during your writing (making you a “pantser”—the only way you could possibly be successful in NaNoWriMo), it takes time to get anywhere near a polished MS. You can’t write a novel in a month—at least not one I’d ever want to read!

Second, don’t try 100% DIY after you have that MS. You’ll need copy-editing, formatting, and cover art to turn that MS into a publishable book. The smart indie author pays for that because s/he knows that even though she might be a skillful writer, s/he doesn’t do those three things as well as a pro editor, formatter, or cover artist. Pay for those. Or find a small press that will pay for it. It’s like that Heathkit electronics component—one couldn’t put something so complex together without that little book of instructions that comes with the kit. Pros make it easy for the kit builder; DIY can lead to disaster.

Third, in today’s competitive publishing world, don’t try 100% DIY for PR and marketing. A small press might help some with that, but almost all authors need to add a bit of pro help to the mix. If you’re good at social media, you can do a lot of DIY, and here’s one place your DIY-self can go forth and conquer—in fact, it’s best that you personally do a lot of it with your website, Facebook and Goodreads author pages, and participating in online discussions. But there are groups and websites who’ll promote your book at a reasonable cost, and they’ll reach many more readers than you can. A bit of DIY is required to set that up, of course. Beware, though: higher cost does NOT necessarily mean more effectiveness.

Pride in your book should go far beyond just writing your story. It must include doing your best to offer readers a polished and entertaining product. Whether you have many readers or not, there still should be pride in doing your best. And you don’t have to be 100% DIY to do that–and shouldn’t be. I felt pride in those finished Heathkit projects. I could say “I made this!” even though it was Heathkit that did a lot of the work. So, write your story, whether short fiction or novel length, and finish it correctly by NOT being 100% DIY!


Now’s your chance to read epic sci-fi! The “Chaos Chronicles Trilogy” is now a bundle. You can read all the books in the “Chaos Chronicles Collection,” a $5.99 ebook that costs less than the ebook for the first novel in the trilogy. The novels, Survivors of the Chaos, Sing a Zamba Galactica, and Come Dance a Cumbia…with Stars in Your Hand!, take you from the Chaos years of an Earth dominated by multinationals and controlled by their mercenaries to Humans’ first interstellar colonies and a first encounter. You will meet strange ETs, good and bad, bipeds and collective intelligences, and experience mystery and intrigue, as Humans expand into near-Earth space. Soon available on Amazon and Smashwords.

In libris libertas!

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