Writing, Friends, Editing, and Cover Reveal
Many authors like to talk about their work in progress, especially when the book comes closer to being published, but I haven’t been too vocal about my latest WIP or shared much about it with anyone except a few close writing friends. So what’s so top secret about it? Why wouldn’t I want to announce to the world the upcoming birth of my new baby? Possibly because it was confusing for me to write? Possibly because by the time it went off to the editor I still couldn’t peg the subtitle, which in turn held me up with my cover artist to even begin the cover process because I need the cover to represent the essence of the book, and I still hadn’t captured the essence of my book.
Writing is definitely a solo activity. Yes, I know, of course it’s solo, unless of course we’re co-authoring with another writer. But nobody else can tell our story, so ultimately, it’s only us who writes it. But it’s after the writing that we must invite others into a look at our story. After we get that first draft written and the re-writing process begins, so does the self-doubt. As a memoir writer it can be a little more intimidating to bring our work into the world because we are opening our soul and our personal lives to the universe. In doing so we have to make sure our work is truthful, it engages readers, and it leaves a message or lessons behind for the reader to take with it. But how do we know our book will do all these things? We don’t. And that’s where getting others involved in our writing is important.
If we write a book and send it off into the world without any input, that increases the odds of our questioning our own work. Sure, it’s important to edit our work, but unless we’re going to pay for a costly developmental edit as well as copy/line edits, how are we to know how our story resonates with others before we publish? Two words: Beta readers. It’s so important to send our manuscripts off to various readers for feedback. This isn’t quite the editing stage, although the story should have gone through a round or two of our own edits before going to a beta reader (something I didn’t do properly with my latest upcoming book). Beta reading isn’t about finding typos and punctuation errors, but more about how the story resonates with the reader, where there are plot holes, continuity issues, repeated phrases, and so on. These are some of the things a beta reader should and will let us know where our story is falling short so we can fix our stories before the final editing stage begins.
When I sent my latest WIP to my beta readers, I felt stuck with some of my stories. I wasn’t sure if I could publicly own some of the things I wrote about, so I skirted around some issues, hoping to get feedback on those passages in particular. And boy, did I ever. By the time I got my MS back from those readers I actually asked myself how on earth I could have sent it out in the state it was in. It seemed I was still in my own mind looking at my work without looking at it objectively, something us writers are quite good at doing. This is kind of like when we try to edit our own work, we overlook things because we know our story, we know what we expect to read so we miss some of the glaring errors along the way. Perhaps my MS was still a bit raw in thought when I sent it out, but I learned a lot from the feedback, and it took me another 3 re-writes to get it into better shape before it would go to the editor. And still, some parts plagued me. I questioned myself on TMI, or not enough? I tortured myself for weeks with a fitting subtitle to indicate to readers what they could expect to find by reading the book without giving too much away, or more importantly, without misleading them with an inaccurate subtitle. Then the month I spent racking my brain out with a journal full of possible subtitles and throwing those ideas up to numerous writing friends in private messages, finally helped me come up with the appropriate title. Of course the delay in my subtitle held me back with my cover artist because I needed the image on the cover to relate to the book too, to give readers a feel for what the book is about.
Often in writing memoir, the title of the book doesn’t give readers a good indication of what the genre is and because of this, many memoirs are subtitled. For example, my first book – Conflicted Hearts – A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt. Do you see? If the book was only titled Conflicted Hearts, that alone doesn’t denote what kind of book it is. It could mean a love story ending in a broken heart, or anything really. But the subtitle tells the reader what they’ll be in for.
My newest book is titled Twenty Years: After “I Do”. That’s the title. If it were only titled Twenty Years, that could mean anything right? The colon and additional title adds the thought that this book may be about what happens in the 20 years after we marry. But that doesn’t capture the essence of my stories enough, so I finally came up with the subtitle, Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging. I felt that the subtitle now indicates better to a reader what they can expect to read about in the book. Sounds simple enough, but trust me, this subtitle was the most difficult to come up with out of all my books. And maybe that was because I wasn’t sure what direction that book was taking. I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted to write it in a novel-like manner, or in a self-help manner, and eventually the writing took on a life of its own and ended up being written in the true D.G. Kaye style that all my books seem to do, like I’m telling stories about my own life experiences with a friend. It’s me, all me, talking just as I’d do in real life, only the pages are polished without the ‘ums’ and all those other little wordy things we say when we’re speaking live.
The first doubt that always comes to my mind when I begin writing a new story is – so who cares? Who will care? Why will they care? I used to think that only famous people wrote memoirs. Why? Because they’re famous and people always want to know about the life of famous people. So, in the beginning of writing my first book, besides the fears of publishing an intimate story, I wondered why anybody would care about what I had to say.
A writer endures a lot of self-doubt, believe me – even the famous writers. But when writing is our passion we somehow gain the courage to keep writing. And with the help of writing friends, we can get a different perspective, one that’s often difficult to attain when we’re too involved with our own story.
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I’d like to thank many of my writing friends for their coming to my call of confusing moments throughout the editing stages of my new and upcoming book. Thank you for the suggestions, for pointing out the wonky things, for brainstorming with me, and most importantly, for the encouragement and the humor you’ve offered to lighten those grueling moments. I’d like to thank a few in particular for their suggestions: Sally Cronin, Tina Frisco, Colleen Chesebro, Marjorie Mallon, and Belinda Miller.
I’m happy to announce my Twenty Years: After “I Do” will be published by the end of November!
And now, without further ado, introducing my cover reveal and blurb!
In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.
Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.