When I launched my book ‘Spike’ a lot of fellow equestrians and some of my writer friends were interested in knowing about the process of writing a book. They asked how I came up with the idea (easy – it’s the true story of Spike’s life!), how I wrote it, how I edited it and eventually how I got it from my computer to being a paperback book. I figured if those closest to me were interested in the process then maybe others would be as well. So I decided to put together a guide on how to write an equestrian book.
This step wasn’t a particularly difficult one for me because I didn’t need to come up with a storyline or plot. The book is based on Spike’s life and so everything that is in it are things that have happened. This step for me was more about deciding what parts of Spike’s story I wanted to tell, recalling these moments and ensuring that the detail was all there.
The next step was plotting out the novel. What stories would I be telling and in what order would I tell them?
I decided that for this book the best bet would be to tell the story in chronological order and to make each chapter about a specific part of Spike’s story. For example, there is a chapter that is entirely about saddle fitting and the process of how we went about finding a saddle for Spike.
Writing ‘Spike’ was easier than I expected, as like I said it mostly just relied on me recalling particular aspects of his life. The process of writing the book was incredibly joyful – it was nice to be able to look back on his life and remember some of my favourite moments. Writing the first chapter about how I found Spike and the day he was delivered was by far my most favourite chapter to write as it is my most favourite story to tell.
(Did you know you can get the first chapter free? For more check out the banner at the top of the blog!)
Writing the first draft took about a month and a half from beginning to end, not including edits. My biggest tip for this stage is to continue writing, rather than revising as you go. I’ve written both ways and find that it is far easier to write the entire story and then revise. If you revise as you go you can often get stuck working on the same part of the story over and over and never get to the finish line (I’ve got a load of unfinished drafts sitting in my drop box because of this!)
The next step in the process of getting ‘Spike’ written was to edit the first draft. I read the entire story and edited as I went, looking for inaccuracies in the storyline, grammar and spelling errors and fixing anything I wasn’t quite happy with.
The next step was to give the story of my BETA reader. A BETA reader’s job is to provide an objective opinion on the story – including everything from plot to grammar issues.
From there I sent the book to a professional editor for revision. My editor had the book for approximately three days and commented on things such as spelling/grammar, layout, sentence structure etc. A professional editor at this point may also make comments on the storyline and plot, however since this is a true story that wasn’t necessary.
I self published my book via Amazon (CreateSpace) and Kindle Direct Publishing, which means the book is available as both a paperback and e-book. This process is incredibly simple and set up so that you can’t complete one step until you’ve done the previous one (it’s basically foolproof!)
The first step was to set up the book – listing the name, description etc. and being issued and ISBN number. From there I uploaded the cover art and designed the back cover of the book. The next step was to upload the final draft of the book and wait for it to be approved. Once that was completed I was able to complete the process and within days the book was live an available for sale!