Last Weeks WW – To Be, or Not to Be… Orriginal
You got through your first draft. Congrats! That’s amazing, and is possibly the single most important indication that you could actually take this crazy hobby to the next level and make a career as a writer. Without this, none of the other steps to becoming published would even matter.
But is is only the first step. The first draft is your initial challenge. Not to discourage anyone. It’s the most amazing feeling is getting to that finish line. I remember when I was completing my first draft of Otherworlders, I was excited. I thought, yes! Now I can be published and life will be awesome. My boyfriend brought me back to reality. He told me I needed to do at least one more draft, though probably many more. He hadn’t read it yet. But he was right. It took some convincing, but I found that it did actually need a few more drafts. I’ve done three total, and will have to do at least a polish again. In many ways, I’ve found that revisions, as much as I hate them, is where the real art happens. It’s where you take that lumpy first draft, smooth it out, and tighten everything up. I thought my story was set, but in the editing, I found myself moving around whole scenes. Chopping, pasting, preforming surgery. This is where you craft.
Let’s just say I’ve done that. (It’ll be done in the next few days). My beta readers love it, there’s nothing more I can do for it myself. Where do I go from here? Homework time.
There are a few paths to published these days.
There is a great new report (although it is skewed towards the self-publish agenda) that talks about income potential of self-published vs traditional.
First, there’s the traditional route. You salivate at the thought of Big Five publishers. Perhaps you even consider what kind of advance you’d settle for if you found a home with smaller presses. That’s the dream. But it’s not that easy. First, you need to stand out. You need a great query letter.
Next, you need an agent. There are a lot of them. And every day they get tons of submissions. There are many ways to find agents. You can buy a book that lists them, you can do an internet search. You will find lists and lists. It’s important to research every single agent that you approach. Look them up on their website, find out exactly what they’re looking for. Do they represent your genre? Do they want just a query? The first chapter? The first, 5, 10, 50 pages? You have to send them what they want, or they might not even look at it. It’s a lot of work.
You clearly believe in your project, or you wouldn’t be trying to be published. So only send out your query letter to a handful of agents. If no one bites, consider revising it, and send it out to several more. Repeat.
You’re probably exhausted after all of this work. There is a lot to be said about Self-Publishing. But you need to slow your roll before you hit publish on Amazon. You’ve got to polish that thing! You need an editor. They’re expensive. You can always try Crowdsourcing to raise your money. But beware, unless you already have an audience, and even then, it’s unlikely that you’ll raise the funds you need. I know, I tried. If you don’t have a bunch of money to sink into your edits, find it where you can. A fresh grad on Craigslist. A friend or relative who reads a lot and has a critical eye? It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing. Get the best you can. Get as many people on it as you can.
There have been some self-published superstars. It takes talent and a lot of luck. But it can happen if your writing is worthy.
I’ve decided to enter Otherworlders into Amazon’s Breakout Novel contest. They accept 10,000 entries. Which goes to show, there are a lot of self-publishers.
If you go that route, you have to find a way to make yourself stand out. It’s not enough to just hit publish and expect people to find your book.
Find other authors and invite them to review your book. Reviews are very important.
Cross platforms – publish an E-book, offer print to order hard copies, off your book on Audible.
Promote yourself – you’ll need a Facebook page, twitter, a blog… have your friends share it, give the book to free to a few people to spread word of mouth, if things are going well, set up some book signings… anything you can do to let people know that your story exists.
I hope this has been useful. Go forth, and be published.