Boy, when I first sat down to complete my very 1st manuscript, I had no idea what I was in for. Much less what came after publishing. Was I up for the task…who knew? I had to learn along the way and sure wish I had a mentor to help me muddle through it all.
SO YOU FINISHED WRITING YOUR 1st DRAFT
Yep, when I finished my first draft I figured, hum, I only have to edit this once and then send it out. BOY WAS I WRONG. Luckily for me I stumbled … yep, literally stumbled on a writer’s website called, www.absolutewrite.com/forums lucky for me I did. There I wanted to strut my stuff and show off my newborn baby and decided to put my work in the ‘Share Your Work’ area and boy did they rip me a new backside (but in a nice and supportive way). There on Absolutewrite.com/forums I found the mentors I needed. I started hawking the site and learned that I needed to get my manuscript in great shape. So I took a SciFi Critique class at the BETHESDA WRITER’S CENTER (http://www.writer.org/) thank goodness I did. Lastly, one of the best sites I found support on was www.yalitchat.ning.com for YA writers. These are some things I learned I needed to do after I finished my manuscript. This is completely my journey – you can make your own, but I’d love for you to learn from mine.
- Edit my work – a lot.
- Send it out to beta readers.
- Join a critique group or take a class specific to writing and my chosen genre
- Join a Writer’s Organization (And GET involved – network and meet people)
- Create a Query Letter, edit it, get beta readers for it
- Solicit a Literary Agent – if that doesn’t work, go straight to publishing companies that support your genre
- Network with other authors to see inventive ways that they’ve got published (like getting a writing coach, picking up an agent at writer’s conference pitch sessions, or even interning with a freelance editor or other authors who have beta read your work.)
- Never ever let anyone’s opinion stop you from pursuing your dream.
- Build a platform or presence for yourself as an author (have a fb page, do a blog, tweet – create a following and fan base)
- Be realistic about a career as an author by talking to other authors who are where you want to be.
SO YOU HAVE AN AGENT or FOUND A PUBLISHER …Now what
Getting a Lit agent or a publisher is like the greatest high of a writer’s journey, but then…then…there’s still more work to be done. If you have a Lit Agent more than likely you’ll have to do some edits before your agent shops for a publisher of your works. In a lot of cases you get a publisher, in some cases – you may not and your agent may have the sad job of telling you that there is nothing more than can do for you. If your agent is able to land you a publisher, than the contract negotiations begin and you realize just how little a newbie author truly makes – or in some cases, you hit pay dirt and get a decent advance for your book.
If you, your agent or new publisher have to part ways, then it’s back to the drawing board again. Attend conferences, shop your work using query letters and send to publishers directly or check out other publishing options. But don’t give up.
OKAY You’re PUBLISHED NOW ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES AND PROMOTE
Now you are published, and if you are with a publisher or not – you do have to promote yourself (hopefully you have already started). This is where should start getting involved, finding cheap ways to get your name out there – HELP your publisher promote your book in any way possible. Why? Because your book is in competition with tons of others and publishers aren’t spending as much $$$ on promotions for new authors, heck not even for some of their midlist authors. You can also use a publicist if you have to, but most of the internet promotional stuff you can do with some hard work and effort. Check out 1001 Ways to Market your book, find things that you can do actively without overly stressing yourself out.
LIGHTS CAMERA YOU’RE ON
Book signings, radio shows, virtual blog tours and Expos are now some of your stomping ground. Get out there and express yourself, don’t be shy. Come prepared with extra books, a permanent marker and a smile.
I’M TIRED NOW WHAT
Write more books. Even though promotion takes a lot of work, write more great books to keep yourself in front of your audience. Besides, wasn’t writing a great book the catalyst for this bumpy roller coaster ride of being an author in the first place?