FILE THIS UNDER: NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN

I’ve said this many times before, but now I’ll put it in writing as a confession: I had no idea how much work, time and money goes into the creation of a book. Avid reader that I am – or at least, used to be before I spent all my time writing something for others to read – I never once wondered about what it takes to get an idea from someone’s mind onto the shelves for readers. I just assumed writing was like the Murder, She Wrote television series: type on a typewriter/computer/iPad or even hand-write a story. Send to a publisher. Sign a contract. Sit back and reap the rewards.

That bubble burst as fast as a balloon at a party packed full of porcupines. Besides coming up with an idea, then writing the story, a would-be-author must submit a manuscript to a publisher. In my case, an acquisition editor, someone who read through my manuscript and thought it was good enough to be published and accepted it. Woo-hoo!  I’m an official author. NOT!

Several copy editors took over. A copy editor to me is like my English high school teacher: He was a stickler on grammar issues like verb tenses and sentence structure. He enjoyed, I think, boldly marking in the reddest lead pencil any punctuation errors he found. And if we phrased a sentence that sounded awkward to him, we were regaled with all sorts of examples of a better way to rephrase.

A substantive editor read through everything. With him, I balked at a few suggestions. My book, “We’re Not Sixteen Anymore” was written with baby boomers in mind. I’m a baby boomer. I still use phrases like “neat-o,” “dipstick,” (that’s for someone who annoys me), and groovy. The much younger man tried to change a few words and phrases that I felt were very much a part of the language, content, and style of my story. Obviously he didn’t speak or read “senior.” And that was my prerogative. Plus I admit it gave me a feeling of power to go against the word of someone who is most certainly better grammatically than I am.

Finally, the manuscript is proofread by the final editor. And it’s off to print once I okayed it. That’s it. I thought. Boy, was I wrong!!

First of all, during the time the various editors were working on my manuscript and sending me updates and corrections for me to sign off on, I was supposed to be getting ready to MARKET my book. Whaaat? I’m not a salesman. Never have been, nor ever want to be. But if you want to be a successful author in this digital and global era, , it comes with the territory. I felt a little put out at that realization – until I saw one of my very favorite and ultra-famous authors pitching one of his new books on television and Instagram. If James Patterson has to hawk his own books, then by golly, so can I!

Authors are encouraged to obtain their own website. I’ve always seen the Go Daddy commercials run during the Super Bowl but had no idea what it was. I do now! It’s a domain registrar. You know – it names a website for you. I’m officially a web page – www.beckyandersen.com  (Ope! I love when I type that and it automatically underlines it and turns the type blue or purple!) Anyway, as long as I continue paying for it annually, that web site name is mine. However, then I learned that just buying my “domain” doesn’t get me a page people can go to. I also pay for a website host. That sounds refined, doesn’t it? I pictured some hologram of a tuxedo-clad man appearing on my web page, warmly welcoming everyone who wanted to see what beckyandersen.com had to show them, and pointing out my blogs, my events, reviews of my book and anything else I would put on my site. That would be so lovely, wouldn’t it? But nope! A website host is a company that gets my site up and going on the internet. How is still a mystery to me.

I also had to write a short biography, a catchy blurb (i.e. sales pitch), a synopsis, and come up with an idea of what I wanted the cover to be for the graphic artist. Whew! And I could go ahead and advertise my upcoming book on Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, Instagram or tweeting (had to open a Twitter account). Again, I may have been born mid-20th Century, but I was expected to be 21st Century cyber-savvy.

I did it. Sometimes I had to pay to have it done for me, but I managed to get my book out to the world, thanks in large part to my WriteLife Publishing publisher who had reviewers from all over the world read We’re Not Sixteen Anymore and write their opinions. I’ve garnered more four and five star ratings on Amazon than I thought possible. Also got a few two and three star ratings, but my average is 4.5 stars out of five and I’m thrilled. I have been to book conventions, book signings, spoken at libraries across the state and met many wonderful people.

It’s been work, but I love it. It’s been expensive, but at my age, I would never have had the experiences – and the education – that have come with writing a book. And it’s been satisfying to prove to myself that one is truly never too old to learn!