Why do you want to write? What is driving you to write something? What is it that you want to write? Do you think you will get rich as a writer? Who are you writing for? Are you writing for yourself? Are you writing for your family? Are you writing for the general public? What will you accomplish with your writing? What genre does your writing fall under? Will your writing be part of a book? Will your writing be used for a screenplay to make a film? Is your writing poetry? Are you writing a newspaper or blog? Do you want to publish your writing? How long do you want your writing out in the public? Do you know the life cycle of your writing? What name will you use as your writer’s name?
All of these questions must be considered in the writing process. First, you must ask why you want to write. Are you writing for yourself or do you plan on publishing and selling your work? If you plan on selling your work, it has to be up to snuff for public consumption. You must have the ownership of what you are writing and you must know how to write, how to publish, how to market, and what audience you are shooting for. Sometimes, people write before they figure out their audience. This is all right, but it may present a catch up period if your writing is what you want to sell.
For myself, the subject I write about involves history, mythology, mystery, the paranormal and other subjects mainstream does not want to touch. The reason I write is because I want to know who are we, where did we come from, what happened in the past, and what come next for us. I believe most of these answers are in the ancient writings of the past as well as the science of anthropology and other areas of investigation. I wish to convey what I have found to the public in the ancient writings and my own research. I hope to make money to live off of and use for my work. Writing helps me to organize my thoughts, convey my ideas, and get answers to my questions. I know others in the public have the same questions and would like to hear what I have to say. Ideally, I would hope the entire human race would care about the questions I have, but they may not. I am limited by the language of my writing when others are not able to read English. I am limited to an audience whom I can reach. Yet, I still have a drive to write and I have an audience.
I have written several book series and made films. My original book series, The Library Kids, was a fictional adventure for children centering around a group of children that travel the world and can go back and forth throughout time, on a secret mission and while they travel, they learn about history, mythology, and people around the world. This was the beginning of my book writing adventures. Prior to that, I wrote screenplays and tried to break into Hollywood by selling my screenplays. I was only able to option one screenplay and the producer was not able to produce the film all though she gave it a very good try. I moved on to writing books, after an unsuccessful attempt at being the next best Hollywood screenplay writer.
When I wrote my first book, I didn’t know what I was doing. It was a learning experience by trial and error. At the time, vanity publishers and agents were running the book industry. I wrote a book about the beginnings of my spiritual journey and questions about the human race’s origins. I unfortunately received a letter from an agent who claimed he wanted to get my book published. He cited a book that he had helped get published and then told me I needed editing for my book. I should have known better but I gave it a shot. After paying $750 to an editor out of New York that he recommended, I never received an edit job and my money was gone. I found out the editor and several agents were under investigation by the New York state attorney for fraud. They were running an agent-editor scam where the agents were getting kick-backs from the editing company in exchange for sending aspiring writers their way. The editor was shut down, but my money was gone. The agent wouldn’t give an answer for what had happened and the State Attorney could not help me get my money back. Hiring a lawyer would have cost a lot more money than the money that was lost. I had to chalk it up to a bad experience.
I took a break from writing books after that. Later, the writing itch came back and the Print-On-Demand industry was emerging. I decided to give it one more shot. I began to write children’s books (The Library Kids). I decided to try getting an agent out in New York. I went out to a writer’s conference and was able to pitch my books to an agent. She was interested and asked me to send my manuscript to her. After doing so, she came back and asked me to have my book edited. She claimed to have editors on staff and wanted me to pay $250 for an edit. I was resistant due to my previous experience. I background checked her and she did represent some published authors that had some famous names. I decided to give it a shot to see what would happen. The first edit was not impressive. The edit had some minor suggestions and was more of a review. The edit even misspelled the title of my books and called it, “The Liberty Kids,” rather than “The Library Kids”. After that the agent told me she wanted one more edit pass for another $250. I was curious but decided it was the last edit I would pay for and thought after that, the book would be published. I was wrong. The second edit was just as worthless and the agent came back and told me I needed more edits. I pressed her for her process and she said books generally went through eight to ten edits before they were able to be published. That was it. I cancelled my engagement with this agent as nothing had been signed in regards to representation. She was another scammer. After this experience, I decided to go independent from then on and the Print-On-Demand industry was now opening up the possibility that I could publish on my own and I did and have been self-publishing and selling my books online and in person ever since. I chose to use my maiden name as my pen name.
There is a process to writing and filmmaking, yet it allows for creativity and individualism. Marketing and selling your writing and films is another story. For both, the process can be broken down to the following stages: the creative stage, the technical stage, the marketing stage, the sales stage, the business stage, and the legal stage. All areas must be taken into account before you even begin to sell a book. If you are simply writing for yourself and will never publish what you write, then you are free to be as creative and free form in your writing as you want to be. If you intend to sell your writing or film, all of the stages must be taken into account and each requires its own skill set.
The creative stage is the concept idea and writing or filmmaking. The technical stage is the formatting, tool selection, age appropriateness research, general research, filmmaking knowledge and expertise, and so on. The marketing stage will be the research and plan on how you intend to sell your book, screenplay, or film and to whom. The sales stage will be how you intend to sell your book, screenplay, or film and what platforms will you use. The business stage will include looking at the costs versus the profit. It will include estimating tax obligations and business structure. The legal stage will consider any liabilities that may be encountered as well as copyrighting your work and making sure you have the right to publish your work. All of these stages require a lot of thought and investigation.
All of these stages may have pitfalls along the way. Some books or films may be a lot easier than others to create and publish. If you are still willing to do the work, the rewards can vary but you will be glad that you did do your work. And lastly, all of these stages should be considered before you even write a. book or make a film. You need to have a plan and know who your audience will be before you even begin.