Writing stories is what I do and love. But writing stories alone, doesn't produce books.
My partner draws a parallel between writing and quilting. She loves gathering fabrics: pre-cuts like squares and strips as well as something she calls "fat quarters". To me they are a collection of pretty bits of cloth. To her, they are are the beginning elements of something larger and far more beautiful. In her mind, she can see them take shape even before she breaks out her rotary cutter and mat.
It's the same for me when I sit to a keyboard. The story flows through me onto the page. I feel it taking shape in my heart. I hear the characters' voices in my head. And my hands do the work of getting it all written down.
But much like piecing a quilt top doesn't produce a finished quilt, writing a story doesn't make a book. I'm a storyteller not a book maker. A book needs editing, rewriting, more editing and more rewriting, a great cover and a publisher who knows what she's doing.
Some writers try to do all of these tasks themselves. They are the brave, multi-talented souls among us and I bow in awe of their greatness! I on the other hand have been fortunate to have some a small team who works with me to bring my stories to market. -
It's can be hard for a writer to give up their "baby" to an editor's critical eye (or in this case eyes as I have more than one editor), especially if that editor comes back and tells me I have an ugly baby that desperately needs a bath. Seriously though, working with editors who know me as an individual has helped as I know they care about me and my stories. It has made it easier to receive feedback telling me I've "betrayed the reader on this page", "almost wasted a perfectly good hero" or that "there's no way she (hero) would ever say that". Yup, my editors don't muck around.
Then once the story has been sanded and polished, it's time for a cover. That can be so difficult. As the writer, you have a feel for your story and how it might be presented to the world. And when you think you've done a great job communicating your vision, the first cover draft appears in your inbox and you're left wondering what the hell happened. Words even from a wordsmith sometimes fall short in adequately describing one's vision. Thankfully my cover artist also cares about me and my stories. :-)
Finally, I have a package ready for my publisher and send it off. She does her bit plugging me into her network and getting my book out to sellers worldwide. By this time of course, I'm already working on other stories. I wait anxiously to see what response my latest offering will elicit. And I mull over my next blog post. My "job" is done while she battles pirate sites that steal her clients' work while promoting new books and authors as best she can.
So the next time you read a story from your favorite author and begin clamoring for the follow-up, know there will be an incubation period so to speak, even if the story is already in their head. It is a team effort all the way.
Now back to my keyboard!