After writing Demolition Lovers in 2018 I wrote a post that went over how I wrote that book and my reflections. Today’s post will do the same thing for my new book – Dead! – out Friday. Were the stages the same? Is my aim the same with this book? How do I feel now it’s all over? Let’s find out.
The headline story is that the process hasn’t changed much. In fact, it’s reassuring that this is the case as it makes producing future books much more straightforward and so encourages me to do more. One of the things that makes me nervous in quitting my 9-5 and starting my own business is that I need to create the structure myself. Most things in a 9-5 are legacy processes which you are trained on as you start the job. With this new endeavour I’m having to teach myself new processes and need to pull instructions from a range of sources. There is also some market research I needed to do to work out whether I’m paying a good price for services and whether I’m charging the right price for my own. Altogether it has been a great learning experience.
Now I’d like to go through the different stages of writing my new book, by using the subtitles from my old post.
Live the damn thing
The process of writing Dead! actually began in 2019: I was planning on writing a memoir for the events of the year and so had notes from each lay. After the fact, I would make notes into the thousands of words: what happened, the set, the texting, the date(s), any LMR and the lay. I had the raw material but decided against writing a memoir, for my own reasons, and instead chose to write a textbook. If you are interested in writing your own book on Game then I recommend you follow the same process: start taking notes with an understanding that further down the line you’ll work out what to do with them.
I want to take a step away for a second to clarify the following: Dead! follows the standard one-chapter-per-lay structure of most pick-up memoirs but I’m not calling it a memoir because I do not use many descriptive elements. I’m calling it a textbook because the main focus is on teaching Daygame – what I did, thought and why – rather than creating a vivid story. It’s also why I’ve been describing it as a book of case studies, because in each chapter I’ve taken real-life examples and used them as a springboard for discussion. This is just to warn you, then, that the book is not laid out in the same way as Daygame Mastery or Daygame Infinite, for example, in that it is not structured by each stage of the Daygame and dating model, and is instead structured by lay and each chapter contains an example of the Daygame and dating model carried out in full.
Answer the “call to adventure” and initial attempt
This stage wasn’t the same as for Demolition Lovers in that I didn’t have a Krauser post which spurred me to write the book (as per the post linked above). As I said, the idea grew over time, and changed shape as I wanted to write something different to a memoir. However, there was a moment where I committed to writing Dead! and that was around the end of April 2020. I knew that I had to get writing my new book; the inertia had built up to a point where I knew I was procrastinating and just had to get started. I took the big step to starting by collating all of my notes into a folder and then began to ask for test readers. In the end I got excellent help from Lee Cho, Mr V and Breeze. This commitment – metaphorically, by collating the notes, and literally, by asking for test readers – was the moment when I knew I had begun writing my new book.
My next task was to go through each set of notes and write them out in full. I rode the initial wave of enthusiasm for the first five chapters but then it waned. When I came back from Prague (part one and part two) I realised that it had been more than a month since I had written something new. I had reached a point where I needed to take a more mechanised approach, so I started adding things like “write 250 words of Dead!” to my to-do list for the following day. Usually I’d write more than 250 words and it kept me on track; progress was restored. Then, throughout the whole process, as I’d finish each chapter, I’d send it to my test readers so they could provide me with their helpful comments. By the end of February 2021, I had written the whole first draft, the test readers had reviewed it, and I’d made changes based on their comments.
Second draft, cover and formatting
With the main body of work in place, the hardest part of the process was behind me. I now needed to do two things: contact my cover designer from Demolition Lovers on Fiverr and give her the specs for the new book; and put up a job posting on Upwork for a line and copy editor. Having completed these two steps already for Demolition Lovers this process went smoothly; I could even copy and paste my job posting for the editing gig. The costs were about $60 for the cover and $240 for editing. They both took a couple of weeks to complete their work. I then went through the editor’s notes accepting or rejecting his comments (in the end I accepted 99% of them).
And that was the final product completed! I just had to put all of the documents into one file, add the front cover, add a contents section and publish as a PDF. There’s one thing I want to highlight here, just because I was so picky about it: it bugs me that when you look at a PDF that the page numbers displayed don’t match the PDF’s page numbers. Well, I fixed that, so once you have your page reference you can jump straight to it using your PDF reader. Also, and this was a pleasant surprise, the formatting from my document carried over to the PDF in that if you click/tap on a chapter name within the contents then you’ll jump to that chapter. It’s a small touch but it pleases me.
I could then upload the PDF to Payhip and complete the setup. By moving from a hardcopy sold via Lulu to PDF sold via Payhip I’ve managed to greatly simplify bringing the product to market. The thing with Lulu is that you have to publish to PDF such that the fonts are embedded, which allows their printers to work correctly. Since this is just a PDF sale, I didn’t have to go through that process. It also meant skipping the humorous thing I had to do with Demolition Lovers: because I do all of my work off of a Chromebook there is no function to save as a PDF with embedded fonts. That meant I had to go to a local library to use their PCs, load up the book and hope none of the local grandmas were looking over my shoulder!
Along with that ease of production, by selling the book as a PDF you can get access to it instantly and you can receive updates in the future for free (I am planning on doing this, either through updating the text, adding more lays, and/or adding new sections such as an FAQ). There’s also a monetary incentive for me to do so: Demolition Lovers is £12 and I get about £6 for each sale while Dead! is £20 and I will receive about £18 from each sale. When it comes to piracy, I trust in the good faith of my readers and customers, and so do not worry about it; if someone goes out of their way to illegally download my book then it’s just a compliment to me. Though, as an added precaution, each download will stamp the PDF with your email address in the top left hand corner of each page.
With that all done, the release is ready for Friday at 2pm GMT. It’s £20 and comes in PDF version only (if you were going to ask). I’ve tested out the product flow and it works seamlessly: you can follow the link I provide to Payhip where you add Dead! to your basket and pay just like any other website. Payhip will then provide you with a link to purchase the book and will send you an email with a download link if you want/need to re-download it (in the case of updates, for example).
I’m nervous about the release but excited to have finished it and to see how it fares; I have my own private hopes as for how many sales I can make in the first month. Whereas Demolition Lovers was more about creating something I thought was cool, this book is specifically designed to help people and so it’s success is much more externally dependent.
But with such a long project completed, I feel as if my life has lost a bit of it’s drive. It’s easy to know what to do next when you’re working on a project, whether that was writing new chapters, reviewing edits, or compiling the document. I know what my next project is going to be – it will certainly be a smaller one – and I’ll probably think about starting that one in about a month so I can have a breather.