Welcome to Day 3 of Writer’s Week!
If you missed Day 1 and Day 2, go ahead and catch up. I’m not going anywhere. And may I suggest that you read the comments too, because WOW. They’re better than the posts themselves, and I’m not even kidding. Your words have enlightened, encouraged, motivated and blessed me this week, friends. Wow-zers. (And I’ll be answering more of your questions in tomorrow’s post.)
So. Let’s just jump right on the elephant in the room. You dream of getting a book published. And you’d like me to kindly tell you how to do it.
Once again, I’m going to direct you to a post I’ve already written. This one is from February 2008–My Journey to Publication. This is the link I send to the many people who say things like, “So, you’re a published author. I want to be a published author. Tell me everything you know.”
Go read the post. You won’t be sorry (discouraged maybe, but not sorry).
So, that’s my unconventional journey. Like I said, I doubt it will be of any help to you. Bummer, I know.
Here’s what you can do in 3 easy steps: 1. write a book; 2. submit a query letter to an agent of your choice; and 3. wait to hear what he/she has to say.
But more likely than not, your journey to publication is going to entail way more blood, sweat, tears–and years–than that. I am all about encouraging people to pursue their dreams–you know that–but I’m also not going to lie to you. It’s not going to be easy.
Have you ever read a book and thought, “Oh my goodness. I could totally write a book better than that one.” Okay. So do it. Writing a book of publishable quality is harder than you might think. Really. Ask the thousands and thousands of writers who are handed a rejection slip every month.
I don’t know where you are on your writing journey. Let’s say you’re starting from scratch. Here are some things I recommend (and they’re going to take a lot of time):
1. Spend a lot of time in prayer and reading God’s Word. My relationship with Christ is paramount when it comes to my writing (and everything else in my life). When I’m drawing close to the Lord, my writing has depth, feeling. When I’m drifting from God, my writing feels empty. Surrender your dreams to God–even your writing ones.
2. Do your homework. Read up on the world of book publishing. It’s never been easier to do this. Tons of agents blog valuable inside information every day. My personal favorite? This gal. (she has tons of links in her sidebar to just about everything you’d ever need to know) I like this guy too. Read what these agents are saying. Learn what they’re looking for. Read other writers’ comments. Study, research, learn.
3. Read a lot. Read the kinds of books you want to write. And read some books that are nothing like what you want to write. Read books that teach you the craft of writing. Read bestsellers. Read, read, read whenever you can.
4. Write. All the time. Write more than you read. Write when you’re inspired and when you’re not. Write in a journal and on blank paper and on your computer. Write a blog. Write comments on other people’s blogs. Write letters to your kids. And your grandma. Write, write, write.
5. Build a platform. This one is tricky. Basically, what it means is this: if you’re writing non-fiction, you have to become “known” as somewhat of an “expert” in your field. If you’re going to write a book on parenting, why would anyone read your book when there are hundreds of parenting experts out there writing books? (this platform thing could be its own post)
6. Meet with other writer people who will help you polish your work. I have never done this. I still think it’s a good idea.
7. Revise your writing constantly. You can always make it better. Read it out loud. How does it flow? Does it sound natural or forced? How’s your word choice?Are your sentences clear? Concise?
8.-10. Write your book, write a proposal, send a query letter to an agent. (Repeat if necessary.)
Be prepared for lots of hard work, lots and lots of waiting, some tough blows, some criticism and rejection, some disappointment.
But is it worth every minute of it? If it’s what God is calling you to do, it is. It is for me.
What questions do you have about getting published (or anything else pertaining to writing)? (If I seem to have left out a lot, it’s because I left out a lot. Rome wasn’t built in a day.)
See you tomorrow for Part 4!