Holidays are a great time of year to write. Your senses are infused with the sights, sounds, and smells of memories, beauty, and fun.
Whether it is cinnamon, vanilla, and pumpkin or sage and thyme coming from your or your neighbor's oven, your olfactory senses are alive with memories being created now or remembered from the past.
I used to love the soft ginger cookies my grandmother made with cinnamon and molasses. She loved to make cookies. Today I had so much fun making cookies with my grandson. Who doesn't love cookies? But for some of us they are the height of perfection. Decorating cookies is edible art that you can't mess up––my favorite kind. There's something about touching the soft gooey dough, adding flour and making it manageable for shaping, smelling them cooking, and then adding color with decos. Different sights, smells, and textures all in one dessert. Shared with children and loved ones the memories last forever.
Sleepy homes come alive at Christmas time. Our neighborhood is transformed from pale pasty desert colors by day (except the occasional exception like our bright blue house) to bright shining lights, ornaments, and moving characters. I love the lights at Christmas time.
The story from random web sources not to be mentioned here, is that Thomas Edison hung the first electric Christmas lights around his laboratory to market his new invention. Interesting, that it kind of goes along with the marketing side of the season, but lights in my opinion are the best marketing seasonal ploy. Much earlier people were in the habit of lighting candles for warmth and decoration.
We enjoy the brightness of the season, but light has been a symbol of purity and goodness for ages. Light was a symbol for the birth of Jesus and of lighting the world with the love of God. As I write, speak, and share this season I want to be that light of love.
The glorious ideas and heady words I jotted down on bits of paper or recorded in my digital notes were ready to take shape. I was in the zone; delighted with myself for having such genius thoughts and creativity. I remember in high school writing down stories and thinking it would be fun to write a book. Later finding a moment here and there to write down poems and parts of stories, then research papers, and presentations. My enthusiasm labored on to great heights.
I finally decided to put my ideas and presentations into a book. I would have all of my important information for coaching together in one book to use and share. As I read my nonfiction manuscript over and over to self-edit, I realized it was very informative, but a bit boring. I added stories and analogies. Months after my initial presumption that I had all of the pieces of a book and just needed to put them together, I had a completed manuscript. Whew!
Bullets, tables, and pullouts from classes and presentations I had developed: It would be an interesting layout, I thought. Next I just needed to hire an editor, layout and cover designer. I asked friends, took names at a job fair, and put the job description in one of my Linkedin groups for writers. Meeting with editors, contacting cover designers, and replying to the Linkedin responses took a good deal of time. What surprised me most were the poorly written emails with typos from prospective editors. I kindly notified the editors with errors in their Linkedin profiles of changes they might want to make. I even sent my manuscript to an editor who sounded like he would be reasonable. When I got his quote, I realized I shouldn’t be sending my manuscript without a written agreement or contract. Instead I imbedded a sample of the book into a page of my website to share.
After checking templates and freelance work you can bid on, I finally found cover and layout designers from the resources page of our local library. To my dismay, I found out my pages with bullets and tables cost more than simple text. Would I even be able to afford to produce my book? I contacted the book designer and let her know my budget for the interior design. We were able to agree on an affordable design that did not compromise the quality of the book interior. I chose a separate person for interior and cover design. Having a professional looking book was important to me since this book was part of my business so I chose to hire experienced designers for the job.
Before actually hiring freelancers, I looked into the different ways of getting my book published. There are primarily three ways to publish a book: Submit your manuscript to a large or niche publishing company; use a self publishing or vanity publishing company; or start your own publishing business. The option you choose will depend on the genre of your book, your purpose for writing it, the popularity of your subject matter, and many other factors. How I chose the publishing and printing process is the subject of the next article.
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Nancy Miller, M.S. is a Career Counselor, Life Coach, and writer. Nancy will assist you with story ideas, organizing your book whether fiction or nonfiction, and choosing a method for publishing and printing.