The Journey of Writing a Book

Having the determination, as well as the dedication, to write a book is an admirable feat in itself. I remember the feeling of writing that last paragraph that was a solitary moment of victory. Unless you had a co-writer, finishing this book was a victory that only you could appreciate. In that moment, it is your most prized possession.

For some people, that is enough. The manuscript is secured in a special place not to be shared. But for most, the urge to share your hard-earned victory is overwhelming. You might let family members or friends read it, as you wait on bated breath for them to read it and give you (hopefully) their song of praise.

Once a few of them give you their approval, excitement takes over and you are ready to be picked up by an agent, published by the largest of traditional publishers, and well on your way to being the next best seller!

Facing the Publishing Reality

Reality check! The work you thought you just finished is far from over. In fact, the hard work is just beginning. What you have is an unpolished, unedited version of the story you want to tell. It will only take a few rejections from agents or publishers you’ve approached to either realize that dose of reality or find a hole to bury the manuscript in feeling it is unworthy of being made public.

If you proceed by spending hours on writer websites, google research, social media for writers, you will begin to see that you will need a pretty sizable purse to actually get that manuscript of yours turned into a published book. Oh, and what they don’t tell you is that you will be competing with the other 35 million books Amazon has to sell at any given moment! What a daunting task – and many writer’s give up and never work through the challenge of becoming an author.

Exploring Publishing Options: Self-Publishing and Small Presses

At this point, self-publishing can seem the easiest if you have someone guide you through the process. It can also seem the cheapest. However, there is no getting around the basic talent that you will need to address (and pay for) if you have a chance of standing out among the Amazon readers who buy over 300 million books a year.  The prime list of support would be: Editing, Proofing, Cover Design, Interior Design, Distribution, and Marketing.

This is where the small presses can press the right buttons like, “IF your book passes our review committee, we would love to publish your book and handle the process for you. Don’t worry, you will maintain full rights and we, as your publisher, won’t receive a dime of your royalties until what you have paid us is paid back in full. You will have your own representative to walk you through the entire process.” Sounds pretty good, right. Yes, I admit I fell for it and went with the publisher whose “review committee” said they felt like I had a sequel in me. So, pumped up with confidence, I started writing the second book.

Overcoming Challenges in Self-Publishing

It’s hard when you don’t know any better to see the inadequacies that are there from the beginning. Fortunately I had separately found a really good editor, and I was a good proofer, but the entire proofing system the publisher had was flawed and all it did was cover up all the typos and errors they missed. The cover design was amateurish and I got better designs by going to Fiverr. Each process took an excessive amount of time and when it finally came time to distribute, it became clear they were at the mercy of Ingram Spark who they used to print and distribute (which you can do yourself, by the way).

Marketing with them was a joke that wasn’t funny. They never even addressed key words and categories or genres! There was no access to A+ graphics or website development or social media help or advertising…and the list goes on.

Making the decision to pull Beyond the Sea and Crossing Paths off the market, and to pull Finding Sarah that had made it all the way to the sample proofs, was not easy but I knew it had to be done it there was a chance my books would not be lost in oblivion! I found a successful, best-selling author who was willing to mentor me through the process and I will be forever grateful for that help. Just the vocabulary that I was unaware of was overwhelming! Words like “blurbs,” “tropes,” and “universal links” all had to be learned and understood. It was time to take all the input given by outsiders on the first two books to re-write and edit and proof again and again. New covers were orders to bring consistency to the series. The publisher gave me back the interior to the books in Adobe InDesign and I had to learn the entire program to make the changes myself.

All of that in addition to forming my own publishing company and learning the intricacies of self-publishing on both KDP and Ingram Spark. I still haven’t tackled the others like Apple, Kobe, Google, etc. I entered all three books in writing contests and got more active on social media.

Achievements and Continuous Effort

All of this was like a full-time job. It is a work in progress at this point. Finishing the makeover of my website, getting up and running with Amazon ads, working to get more reviews. All of it is a process. Will it all be worth it in the end? The jury of readers is still out on that. However, all three books came away from award season with an award…no gold, but two silvers and one bronze. That is a start. I can say I am an award-winning author LOL.

As you transition from writer to author, I hope my experience can help you avoid some of the pitfalls. Wishing you the best of luck in your endeavors.                  



Nina Purtee is a worldwide traveler, philosopher, and adventure romance novelist. Growing up in Atlanta, Nina’s father ignited her travel obsession with lavish family trips to exotic locations. Some of those experiences have found their way into her writing. Island-hopping with her family through the Greek Islands on a 95-foot sailboat, the Eleni, gave Nina the inspiration for Don Marco’s vessel, the Porto Banus. While on safari in East Africa, she met a woman artist with her companion, a sculptor, living in tents immersed in their artwork. They inspired the characters of Annie’s friend, Sarah, and the sculptor, Sam. Nina draws from her travels to paint pictures with her words.

The sudden death of a colleague left Nina desolate and became the catalyst for Annie’s journey to seek balance, understanding, and resolution. Beyond the Sea: Annie’s Journey into the Extraordinary is the first in her series. Crossing Paths: The Road to Destiny, the sequel, continues Annie’s journey as the cast of characters widens and matures. Her newest novel, Finding Sarah: A Phoenix to Behold, explores the fascinating life of one of Annie’s close friends that she made on her journey.

Nina now lives in Florida surrounded by family and friends when she is not traveling the globe seeking new experiences to write about.


  • Nina Purtee

    Thank you, Ana! The fourth book in the series is coming along quite well and I am excited to get it out to the public. Hoping for a publish date of early fall.

  • Susan Violante

    Awesome article! I went through the same thing with my book back in 2009. It was hard to go through it but the lesson learned was priceless. In my experience my biggest take away was that publishing was not the finish line…it is the start. Many writers think that promoting is not their job but if your goal is o sell your book the Author has to roll up their sleeves and learn all he skills necessary and get out there promoting online and offline if they want sales. Publishers can only do so much. Without an Author willing to take on promoting themselves (or investing in publicists) all writing, and publishing efforts are pointless. Congratulations on your Awards. They are great platform builders!

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