A book requires multiple levels of completion. We start at the idea phase, the outline (optional), the prose (many steps in one), the first draft, the the preparation for an editor, the shredding from an editor, more revisions, the feedback from beta readers, the final draft, and the master copy (book format). Anything past this changes based on the writer’s preference. They can publishing through Smashwords or Amazon, or they can start hunting for an agent. Everyone has to go through the same steps to get to their respective points.
From time to time, it’s normal to hear a writer say they prefer one part of the process than the other. Me too, I enjoy the idea phase, because I can daydream and don’t have to put in work to get anywhere. The one part of the process where lounging around the house is considered a job well done.
The truth of the matter is, every step requires a metric ton of effort and dedication. Outliners have to deal with their method of organization, while a pantser (NaNoWriMo term) has to keep a momentum without running out of steam. This is one of the best parts about writing, the creation. Then comes the refining with editing, a tougher task, but easier from a time investment point of view. When writing, there comes a point where the words stop coming out on pen or keyboard. When editing, there is no stopping point. It’s simple to put in an 8 or 10 hour grind on a manuscript without rest, because it’s all already there.
The corrections from editors is also exciting, since it’s the first real substantial feedback on the manuscript, usually with notes explaining the reasoning. That’s simple too, just fix what needs to be fixed. Ok, done, now formatting begins. This part is the most fun for me. It signifies the end of the journey, as well as the shape of what it will look like as a book. Book dimensions, and acknowledgements, and biographies, and book stuff need to be put in, along with searching for any errors. Sometimes section breaks between chapters say they are there, but when looking through a digital previewer or proof copy, the two chapters have melded together on on page.
Authors, self-published or traditionally published, have to do 99% of the same work. No difference. A publisher does very little of the “book work”, they’re job is to market the book to the best of their ability, depending on the level of importance, of course. All of the above steps, even the optional ones, should be rewarding in some fashion. It’s the reason why people want to write novels instead of a nine-to-five retail job, because the feeling of satisfaction of crafting something unique. It’s impossible to create when one drags their hands along the ground. They must be mobile and articulate. If something is not rewarding, keep doing it until you make it so.