I get asked a lot– how did you do it? How did you cross that bridge from simply dabbling in your writing to actually becoming published?
Today, I’d thought I’d give some thoughts on some of those important beginning steps that I took and maybe you should take if you are serious about pursuing publication.
1. Finished my novel! This might seem like the easiest steps but first steps are always the hardest. It’s like an infant when they first start walking and they have that cute orangutan type maneuvering. Arms high in the air. Their little booty shaking as their knees high march– just like in marching band. The first words to paper for a writer can be awkward. Just like walking takes lots of practice– so does authoring a full-length novel. Many people can write a few great first chapters but can they finish a 60,000-100,000 word (depending on the genre) novel? This is ultimately what an agent or publisher wants to know. They likely won’t take you on until they know you can cross that finish line.
2. Attended a large writer’s conference. I do recommend writers conferences for a number of reason. For networking. For finding fellow friends to share this journey with. After all, no one will understand why you seek the perfect poison to kill of a character then a fellow suspense novelist. Honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t seen a police presence at writers conferences for all the talk of murder and mayhem that goes on– albeit from an unsuspecting, not-part-of-the-conference guest! More importantly, as part of your conference registration, you get an opportunity to meet with agents and editors. Even have a say in which ones (most of the time so register early!) Face to face contact (yes, even for introverts) is important because it puts a personality with the manuscript. Do you and the agent hit it off? Do you have similar goals? Do they like you? Do they LOVE your idea? They should because championing a novel to the finish line takes lots of cheering and faith.
3. Was persistent. Pursuing publication is definitely not for the faint of heart. You WILL be rejected. You WILL get one star reviews. People will take your months-years of hard work and give it a good tongue lashing just because they can. In these dark moments of the writing life you’ll need to have it in you to push yourself over these obstacles. To understand. To have it in you. Why it is you’re putting yourself through all the torture? Is it to see the moments of brilliance? When your own words make you cry? When a reader writes you to say just how much your story touched them and changed their perspective? Is it for the starred review from a well-respected publication?
These were some of my first steps toward becoming an agented and published author. How about you? What steps are you taking?