I was just reading my last post. The post about writing my book.
Well… I did it!
Final draft ready
I finalized the final draft of my manuscript early January 2019. Literary non-fiction, a novel/biography based on my dad’s life story, completed just in time for my dad’s 88th birthday. I printed it and my husband and I flew to France, where my mom and dad live, to hand the final draft to my dad in person. My brother and his wife were there too. It was an emotional, happy and very special weekend with people I love and for various reasons we drank champagne every day!
Around the same time I gave my final draft to four other proof readers, my coach Nanda Huneman, my sister-in-law and two dear friends, one of them being a writer herself.
Somehow it is a very exciting feeling to hand your book over to others and to ask for their opinion. Except for my coach and my dad, who both had been very much involved with my writing, no one else had seen any of it. Not even my own husband, since he is Canadian and I have written the book in Dutch.
I had been talking about my book with others quite often, telling them about my process and progress, but sharing my writings was a very vulnerable thing to do. Especially after having dedicated two years of my life to the manuscript.
Would it be good enough? What if they wouldn’t like it? Would it be a good read?
I gave them a copy of the final draft and then I just had to sit and wait. I’m not very good at waiting you know, I like to take action 🤣 I felt quite restless, so I started killing time looking into the next phase: how to publish and promote a book. And I found out it’s a world of its own…
Automatically the next worry started creeping into my mind: would any publisher be interested in publishing my book?
The Dutch readers market is relatively small, the amount of people writing books apparently overwhelming so publishing houses and agents can allow themselves to be very picky. Most websites more or less state: “if you’re not already a well known author please don’t send us your manuscript.”
Author? It still feels like a weird word to me. I don’t feel like an author. Yet. I guess that only comes with publishing your first book…
I didn’t know of anyone working in the publishing branch. How to stand out in the pile of manuscripts… Should I look into self publishing? But how to get into the bookstores?
We all fight our own demons every day, right?!
Then my proof readers started coming back to me with their feedback. They loved it! Two of them even called my book a ‘page turner’! Yay! The suggestions and comments of all of them were really good quality feedback and I was so happy go back to my desk again and to take my manuscript to the next level. Nanda and I also had a great talk and with all of the input I was able to finalize my manuscript and I felt satisfied with the result.
I posted on FB that I was ready for the next step: to find the right publisher. Various friends reacted to that post. Encouraging reactions of friends that even used to work in the publishing sector and I had forgotten all about it!
The more I share things with people who care about me the more doors seem to open.
Asking for help is a good thing. I’ve sent my manuscript to a limited number of publishers now and there’s some good progress on the horizon. I’m very excited! And very grateful for all the friends supporting me and helping me find new, important connections.
I’ll keep you posted! 😁