“The Leverage Effect” – getting the time and inspiration to write a novel, and translate it to another language

Sometime in the beginning of 2020, I got an idea and inspiration to write the first few pages of a Swedish crime novel with a financial theme. Do not ask me how exactly that idea became a fix plan to write and publish a book all by myself (including book design) in two different languages – it had a different goal and motive then when I wrote “InsurTech – Digitalizing the Insurance industry”, a non-fiction book written from a need to take the collected and aggregated competencies I had from my research into the insurance technology sphere. With the crime novel, the driving factor was me wanting to further develop myself and my creative side. I have never before written non-fiction, not even short novels or the likes.

I put up a plan, setting goals of writing 4 pages a day to be finished by end of summer 2020 and then commence proofreading the book prior to sending it to the main fiction book publishers in Sweden where I am based which also made sense as the book was written in Swedish. The work finished in time, and I tried sending in the book for publishing via traditional book publishers. Come February 2021, I had yet to get a positive response from any traditional publishers and so I chose to publish the book myself. The story of how to self-publish is something I wrote about in this blog post, and I will thus not delve into those details here.

I chose to start and translate the book to English, and publish the books more or less at the same time. For the translation, I set the humble goal of one page translated per day as I do have my consultancy company and other projects I needed to attend to.

In September I published the Swedish version of the crime novel “Hävstångseffekten” via Amazon KDP, and then the English version “The Leverage Effect” in the 26th of November.

The Creative Process

How did I do it though, write a 400 pages Swedish crime novel about the murder of a top financial elite hedge fund potentate and the murder investigator Kim Berg? How did the creative process look like?

It did start with an idea, and a thought of starting a creative project. I wrote a synopsis and sketched on the main characters (roughly ten individuals). I did some (admittedly limited) research, and then started writing my four pages a day. Mid-way to reaching the goal of writing the roughly 700 000 characters it takes to have a reasonably “fleshy” crime novel, I got stuck. I felt I had written what was needed, the start, middle and the finale. I had hit a wall, simply put, and took to a writers group on Facebook. The advise that worked for me where:

  • Envision the characters doing things, real situations, build a story while being out walking (and I did take quite a few walks with my cat Frasse during that period of time) and take notes when you come back.
  • Re-read, and ask others to read the material to give their take on what is missing. I had the fortunate luck of coming in contact with two test readers from another group on Facebook.
  • Take the advise from the test readers and from the notes I had taken to add additional plot twists, and to flesh out the personality and back story of several characters

I have re-read the Swedish version of the book many times before printing it, and again once I got the test print from Amazon and reworked the book even further before I put it to print. With the English version, I admittedly didn’t put the same amount of work (rereading it only once after re-checking the translation) as I wasn’t going to change the main story anyways.

I got the help from two great friends with pictures for the saber which I used to create a book design, and I learned how to use Photoshop to generate the blood stains seen on the book cover. Add a matted trading graph and voiala – book cover comeplete. After working for quite a few hours with the book text and cover design to get it ready for print, it was ready to meet the world.

It is insanely gratifying going from a random thought to a finished book project. And it all starts with an ambition and  a plan.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or thoughts on this blog post!