J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

A Writer’s Life

Beautiful woman in swimming pool

I wish I could say that writing novels means sitting around the pool all day, sipping margaritas, and writing whenever I feel like it. Maybe that’s true for some writers. I envision Jackie Collins living that way. But for me, it is a never-ending process, and writing is only one part of it.

Since I primarily write historical fiction, I do a lot of research before I ever start writing. On average, I spend about six months researching and six months writing. Once the research has been completed, I begin the writing process. For me, I find it best to work from an outline, so I start by plotting out each book, chapter by chapter. And then I start the book, and try to write one chapter every two days. Once the book is completed, I read through it once or twice, and then set it aside to ripen. After a few months, I read through it again. After that, I have it professionally edited and proofread. And then, I find beta readers to look for flaws. The manuscript is finally completed! But that’s only the first phase.

typewriter copy

The next step is finding an agent or a publisher. This takes a lot of work and can be quite tedious. The hardest part is accepting rejection. I’m very fortunate to have excellent publishers. After sending them the manuscript, the whole process of editing and proofreading starts again. Once the manuscript is completed, it goes to the typesetters. A cover artist comes up with a design for the book, which can sometimes be stressful as well. Next comes a cover reveal and pre-sales. And after that, the book is finally published! Thus ends phase two.

To me, the next step is the most difficult. This is finding reviewers, promoting, marketing, and doing anything and everything possible to get my titles out there. I typically spend two to four hours a day on marketing. This includes sending the book to reviewers, entering contests, participating in blog tours, doing author interviews and book signing events, etc. This process never really ends, but it is especially crucial during the first year in the life of the book. And so ends phase three. And then it’s time to write a new book and start the process all over again. But I love it!


Now you know all the work that’s involved with publishing a book. I wish I could say it’s all pools and parties, but it’s more like fear, frustration, fantasy, and for me, fun!

If you would like to help me with my book writing process, I would be more than grateful. Here is the link to become one of my cavaliers on Patreon. I hope you will consider supporting me!



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7 thoughts on “A Writer’s Life

  1. Totally agree! It’s a long process but I’ve had a lot of fun along the way.

    • Me, too. And I’ve learned some amazing things. Since most of my books are about the Civil War, you can imagine the stories I’ve heard. And Gettysburg is supposedly one of the most haunted places. It’s no wonder, really. What do you write?

      • I mainly write historical fiction post Second World War. My first novel is set on a phosphate mining island in the Pacific , I have a short story collection due out shortly and am working on another historical fiction set during the Greek civil war in 1948.

      • Those sound really interesting. What attracted you to the Greek Civil War?

      • I read an article about the fact that 38000 children had been evacuated mostly over the mountains on foot. Then I discovered that my husbands aunt had been one of them. She was taken with her 3 siblings at the age of five and never saw her parents again until she was 15. So my story is about an old man reliving his past as a 10 year old and the journey on foot over the mountains.

      • That is so awesome! It’s amazing what you can find out about your ancestors that no one ever knew, or that were rumored stories. I wrote a young adult novel about my great aunt and uncle who ran a hotel in Sioux City during Prohibition. Supposedly, Al Capone frequented the hotel, and they hid money in their house behind the wallpaper!

      • How interesting for you to have such fascinating subject matter in your family. We should write what we know and digging in the family archives produces a wealth of info.

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