As a new writer I was filled with anticipation for my first book to awe the writing community and of course a publishing contract would soon follow. Much to my dismay, things didn’t turn out as I had planned. Through trial and error I have grown more as a writer and have a deeper respect for the inner workings of the publishing industry. So I thought for all you aspiring writers out there, (I am still one of the crowd of course) I would share a few truths I have learned along my journey.
First thing is first, When I made the choice to become a professional writer little did I realize all the time and effort it takes to become one. You simply can’t write a good book, send it wildly off to publishers (all the while disregarding the publishers own guidelines) and expect to get a contract within a week. It is a job, and you have to treat it as such. I lament to anyone that will listen (I am a whiner, I admit it) how I have to spend forty plus hours a week on my writing. Poor me, I know. I set aside my mornings for editing, networking (more on that to come) and my evenings writing. The rest of my time is spent researching and plotting my characters next moves. As you can see my days are full.
I joined the Utah Writers League to connect with other Authors/Aspiring Writers. Their insights have been amazing and very helpful. Due to my joining, I found out many Authors/Writers connect using applications such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogs. I work feverously every morning to make new contacts and stay connected with ones already made. I attend Author readings as often as possible and will be attending a local writing conference in the near future. My best advice for you, is to get your name and face out there. Let Authors and Publishers alike know who you are and what genre you write, so that when you finish the masterpiece you are working on, You might already have the connections to give you the shot you are looking for.
Learn, learn, learn about the Publishing Industry. I can not emphasize this enough. Don’t let yourself make my mistakes of sending off a manuscript not properly formatted to the wrong type of Publishers. (I cringe every time I think about it.) Nathan Bransford’s Blog is a must for any beginning writer to read. You can find it here: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/ . It transformed the Publishing Industry in my mind and improved my query letter writing skills tremendously. For help in finding a Literary agent I recommend http://www.agentquery.com . There are many other great resources to help you along your quest, too many for me to properly list. Try using (the greatest invention known to man next to You Tube and toe socks) Google to search for your desired need.
Last and not least, Self doubt is the greatest enemy facing you. I recently went to an Author reading where J. Scott Savage happened to be regaling us with humorous words from his series “Far World”. He gave me the greatest advice I have yet to receive. (I am sorry James Dashner I haven’t had the opportunity to meet you as of yet.) He said, “That at some point every Author thinks to themselves, is this good enough?” As an aspiring writer, I am often fraught with unsurely in my work. But as I push through my fear and hone my craft, I have come to realize it doesn’t matter. I am doing what I love.