Like the title says writing ain’t easy. Everyone thinks it just a case of writing a story and boom …done… you’re published….. yeah not so much. I’ve heard that a lot lately, and as I’m suffering with a intermittent ability to write I thought I’d lay out the starting steps to what a writer really does….. Also for those of you who have yet to be published, this is stuff I think I would’ve like to know before hand, it would have saved a lot of worry that I was doing something wrong, or something had gone wrong…. I can tell ya….so are you sitting comfy? Good, we shall begin….
The first part and probably one of the hardest parts is having an idea. Not just any idea but a good idea ….those little buggers are few and far between, trust me. Then comes the writing…rewriting….re-re writing…self-doubt….sheer joy…feelings of utter uselessness…and then you type those magic words “the end”.
But don’t be fooled….oh no dear blog reader that is so very far from the end it should really be called “just the beginning“
Now comes the synopsis…or as most authors will tell you it’s called…the SUCKopsis…..this evil tool of torture is an outline of your book with all the main points laid out as well as the ending. Lots of publishers require them but not all, check your desired targets submission requirement.
Ah submission requirement….those sneaky little things that just jump out and catch you unawares.
So you’ve picked a target aka a publishing house that you want to submit to. Check their website. Every publisher will have a submission section detailing their requirements for any submission. You’ll find loads if information there but probably the top three will be:
1) most important; are they open to new submissions right now.
Some publishing houses will close their doors to “new to them” authors for a while as they have more submissions then their team can handle. They usually do this so they can give any submission they currently have proper time and consideration and not rush through it.
If they are closed check back frequently, they will often reopen for submissions after a short period of time.
2) style and layout; they will tell you what font they want, margin spacing the lot. Make sure you change your submission to match that.
3) make sure the book you’ve written is suitable for them. They will usually tell you what genres and story lengths they’d accept. If it’s too short see if you can add to it without taking away from the core of your story. If not it might be any idea to either a) sub elsewhere or b)See if they have any anthology calls out that your story would be suitable for. One toe in the door is better than none.
Now you can submit your precious….and get ready to so a whole lot of waiting. Each pub house is different. Some will take a couple of weeks, some several months but know this going in and you will be fine…..which is a lie because you will freak out every time you check your email…but know that and you’ll be fine…..
I won’t string you along by saying they are going to pick your story up the second they see it. Yes, they may do but it’s more likely you’ll get a revise and resubmit, if they liked it but thought it needed some work or just an outright rejection. Don’t lose heart, if they gave you notes read through them, see if you understand what it was they thought didn’t work or what needed to be added. You know the story they don’t so their fresh eyes might have caught something you didn’t notice.
Resubmit either to them or to someone else but never lose hope.
Someone somewhere will like your story and you will get published.
But, a word of caution, don’t rush into a contract with the first publisher that offers.
In this world there are good people and bad people. As there are in publishing. Research the publishing house before you submit to them, check the quality if their books, see if they put out good, well edited, creative covered books. Then research some more. There are many forums and blogs online that will give information on good and bad publishers alike.
Yes, getting that offer is the best thing in the world but that feeling won’t last if they ruin your book. Be aware, that’s the moral of the story.
So you’ve got that contract, with a good publisher, and now the serious work beings.
You’ll get assigned an editor this may or may not be right away. Your book is not the only one they are working on, so it may take a while before yours get to the top of the list. That editor will go through and edit your book, no matter how clean you think yours is, you won’t have caught it all. They will make suggestions on flow and continuity; again they have fresh eyes and will see things differently.
Then it will go to a FLE (pronounced flea) this is you Final Line Editor. This person will go through your story and find missing commas, spelling errors and all those sorts of things. They don’t read the story for continuity they look at grammar, punctuation, that sort of thing.
You will also get a Cover Art Request form. Read this carefully. The information you give on here will help create the cover for your book.
Give them your ideas but be aware that not everything will appear on the final cover. Your idea for a great cover and what a qualified cover artists ideas are may not match. Don’t be offended that they didn’t use everything, and don’t be scared to let them know if something just isn’t working for you. This is their idea on “paper” but if they haven’t quiet got the right feel let them know, they are usually happy to work with you. After all its their business and they want to put the best product they can out there.
Now you have done all your edits, have a stunning cover….what next? Well you will have a release date confirmed to you. This may be when edits first start or may not be until well after they are finished, each pub house is different so don’t fret, you will be told.
My suggestion, and this is just my suggestion different authors have found different ways that work for them. So about two weeks before your release date I would start promoting your book. Don’t go over board and use every tweet or status to mention it but a couple times each day, would be enough to start the slow burn.
I find a slow burn works for me, its always on the edge of their conscious then.
Perhaps offer a giveaway, my suggestion again here, don’t offer a copy of your book, people ain’t gonna buy something they think they can get for free are they? Perhaps a nice note book or pen or something to do with your book. If one of your characters is a cross stitched, perhaps a small cross stitch kit…..theme the giveaway to match your book.
Release day comes…..and go mental…scream it to the world, people will forgive you today because they will be just as excited as you are.
You’ve earnt this day of shear unadulterated “look at me” soak it up baby!!
I haven’t even covered, your blog your website, your brand, your contract with the publisher and promo…….
And you thought all you had to do was write a book…..sweethearts, that’s just the beginning……
I told you…I’m a writer, don’t mean I sit there all day tapping away at a keyboard, knowing at the end of it a magic publishing contract will appear….nope don’t happen like that.
I know it sounds daunting, but if this is what you want to do please, please, please don’t be scared. Yes it’s daunting but you can do it. Just pull on your big girl panties, or Spiderman boxers (this is a safe place we don’t judge here, so whatever undies work for you) and do it.
It’s not easy but nothing worth doing is….just remember when you are a New York best seller, to spell my name right in the dedication…..just putting that out there
Until next time remember…..The best pleasure comes with a little pain…..just my suggestion