So you’ve finished that Manuscript. Maybe it’s taken you years. Maybe only months. The point is, you’re finally done!
Now you’re probably overwhelmed with choices. What if’s? What do you do now?
I’ve created a comprehensive list of the steps to take that can greatly aid you while you seek publication. “Don’t I just query? That’s totally easy.” (
hahaha sure cough) Querying is only one piece of the puzzle.
Publishing isn’t something to jump into lightly. Especially self-publishing. Stay tuned for another list geared specifically toward self-publishing. It should post next week.
Otherwise, here’s my general advice on steps you should take on the journey to publishing your manuscript.
#1 Research, research, research/ Research whether you want to self-publish, or traditionally publish. There are pros and cons to both.
#2 Research the publishing houses and/or literary agents that you would like to submit queries to. I made an excel doc myself to keep track of the different publishing houses, what they accept in terms of genre, and what they except when it comes to submissions. Make sure you know for certain what genre and AGE GROUP your book falls into. Picture books, Chapter books, non-fiction, all of those require different types of queries and/or proposals
#3 Hire a professional editor – I cannot stress this enough. Just do it. Save up the money. Research editors in your applicable genre. It’s vital to your overall success.
#4 Begin to join in the fan base and create your audience right now. If you’re serious about becoming a career author, in today’s age of super-fast communication, even traditional publishers want you to submit a marketing plan. Therefore, you need to know how to use social media: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, instagram (that’s BIG in the Young adult, Middle grade market) Pinterest, and others.
#5 Interact, communicate, make friends, network. Interact with fellow readers and writers on Twitter. Find applicable Facebook writing groups to your genre. Interact, communicate, make friends!! Twitter allows you to make lists of people. Divy up people into applicable groups for future reference.
#6 Find and/or recruit beta readers for your book. Those are people who will read your early drafts, and then you can have them answer questions regarding the flow of the plot, the characterization, the overall feel of the story, the technical stuff like grammar etc. These early readers will help you find flaws and you can revise accordingly.
Finding Beta readers for your first book is difficult. Don’t be surprised if people say they will and then don’t. Or only read half the story. (Or they don’t tell you they finish until a year later. That happened to me LOL). Don’t take it personally. Keep building an audience of like-minded friends, editors, agents, publishers, cover designers, writers, book reviewers. Keep asking people if they would like to read/critique.
#7 If you have the money, I would absolutely attend an applicable writing conference. Often, you will have opportunities at conferences to pitch your book to editors/agents. Not only that, there are numerous extremely beneficial classes and lectures on everything from building your writing craft to marketing, etc
#8. I would highly recommend if you have the money, joining an applicable writing association. Romance Writers of America, (RWA) American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Society of Children’s Book writers and illustrators is a BIG ONE for children’s lit. They’re all over Twitter too, just search SCBWI online and on twitter.
#9 Write a synopsis: I’d recommend a long one (up to 3 pages). and a short one. (1 page). In the process of researching and writing my own synopsis’, writing a long one is easier, then you can use that frame to par down and write a shorter one.
#10 Now you’re ready to begin crafting a query letter. Research ones that work. Writer’s Digest has a great series on query letters that succeeded. Query shark is a great website filled to the brim with query letters critiqued line by line.
Good luck my writer friends!
Your turn: Are you published? Self-published? Traditional? What other advice would you give? Share away! Are you still pursuing? What other questions do you have? Ask away!