My writing journey has been an eventful one, filled with highs and lows, and a lot of in-betweens.
I’m slowly reaching goals I’ve set for myself, while simultaneously creating new goals I’d like to reach. I have two self-published books, a third novel about to be released and two works-in-progress. But the truth is, I’m relatively new to this writing biz. I’m still trying to learn the ropes, slogging through the trenches; struggling through the marketing process, building my author platform, writing query letters to agents and publishers in the hopes of getting a book traditionally published. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Instead of giving up, which I’ve wanted to do a thousand times, I bought literary resources, such as the “Writer’s Market: Guide to Getting Published” and “The Canadian Writer’s Guide”, searched online writing sites like “Writer’s Digest” and “She’s Novel”, and took on-line courses to help me hone my writing skills and navigate through the writing process. It’s a learning experience, and I’m certain I still have loads more to learn, but at least I’m doing it, and that’s all that matters. I thought it might be helpful to document my journey to help other new authors struggling through the same process. You never know…it might prevent you from some of the pitfalls I have experienced and help you to reach your writing goals that much faster.
My Writing Journey
I’ve always been an avid writer and reader, but it was only a few years ago when I started to take writing seriously. Driven by my overactive imagination and vivid dreams, I would jot down ideas in journals I had splayed all over the house. It wasn’t long before I realized these ideas and dream segments could be pieced into a dark, twisted, cohesive whole, giving birth to my baby…the Father of Contention series. It’s a science fiction and fantasy thrill-ride, featuring recombinant DNA technology, angels and demons, pirates and zombies, and a whole lot of heart.
I chose to self-publish my first three books trough Tellwell Talent, eager to get my books out to the world and available for mass consumption. While I’ve enjoyed the process, having full control over the final product on my novels…the cover design, title, and overall story line…I feel like trying a new path for my next novel. Getting traditionally published. It might take longer, but I feel like it is the right step for me at this time.
Some Sound Advice
Whether you choose to self-publish or go the traditional publishing route, here are some pitfalls to avoid based on my experience.
- Avoid getting stuck on the editing carousel ride. There is no such thing as perfection, but if that’s what you strive for, you may get stuck editing for eternity. At some point you have to stop pounding on the keys or lift the pen from the paper and accept the final product for what it is. Otherwise, your book may never see the light of day.
- Try not to jump the gun and start sending query letters and synopses to agents and publishers before your book is completed and you have a proper author platform in place. Unless you’re a celebrity, you need a way to stand out before you start sending in your manuscript or you will end up in the dreaded slush pile.
- Do your research. Before sending queries to agents and publishing companies, ensure that they are open to submissions, and that they are accepting manuscripts in your genre. Time and energy are precious resources. Use them wisely!
So, what should you focus on?
- It’s never too early to set up your author platform and get a healthy following. Start with social media. Authors tend to do best on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads and Twitter. Introduce yourself as an up-and-coming author and post relevant and personal posts so people can get to know you and your literary project. Follow other authors to see what type of content they are posting. Drop comments, and make connections. I’m so impressed with how supportive the writing community is, especially on Instagram, so rest assured, you’ll be in good hands. You’ll also need a good website, preferably with a blog, to keep people coming back to your page. And once your book is complete, you can add all the important purchase links so people can find your book.
- Once your book is completed, then you can focus on marketing…setting up book launches, book signings, and virtual blog tours. Again, do your research; look for what opportunities exist in your area to promote your book. Get the local paper to interview you, purchase vendor tables at applicable community events, connect with other local authors and set up a literary event, or do a book signing at your local bookstore.
- Don’t forget to write! Finish your work-in-progress so that you have something amazing to sell. Get beta readers or an editor to go through your manuscript to ensure it is error free, has a good pace and flow and makes sense before getting it published. And then have a proper party to celebrate all of your hard work!
These are simply suggestions based on my experience and not the whole enchilada, but hopefully it helps you in your own writing endeavors. As I wait for my third book to be printed and launched, now only weeks away, I turn my attention back to my other works-in-progress, mainly book four and five of the Father of Contention series, and continue to learn and grow as an author. The journey continues!
Until next time, enjoy your summer and don’t forget to keep reading!
💋 Lanie Mores