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Friday, June 19, 2015

Dear Aspiring Author

NOTE: Several aspiring authors who have found my blog have asked me how I got published and what they need to do. I always tell them the same things, so this one is for all aspiring writers looking for some insight.

Dear Aspiring Author,

You’ve been writing your book for months, even years, and you’ve just finished your manuscript. Now what?

Now you have a lot of work ahead of you. Don’t let that discourage you though, because at the end of it, you’ll have a book to be proud of, a lot more knowledge, thicker skin, and hopefully a published book.

When you write “THE END” at the bottom of your manuscript, let it sit for a few weeks so you can edit it with fresh eyes. Every book has been edited probably a dozen times or more. No book, not even yours, is exempt from editing. Learning to edit properly takes time and practice. You can take editing classes and read books.

Here are some of the editing posts I’ve done that could help you:

After you’ve edited your book to the point where you can’t possible fix it anymore and are even sick of it, give it to someone else to read such as a teacher, family member, friend, or another writer. If you join the blogging group Insecure Writer’s Support Group and their Facebook critique group, you’ll find generous people willing to help.

Once you get feedback from a couple of people and make changes (the key is to not take anything they say personally and to be open to what they say), it’s time to learn how to write a query letter and synopsis to send to agents/editors. When you accomplish these necessary evils, research which agents/editors are best for your book and send out your material with crossed fingers.

You can find agents and editors in these books:
Writers Market
Guide to Literary Agents

Helpful Links:
Most writers get rejections and a ton of them. It’s really a badge of honor. Kathryn Stockett who wrote “The Help” was rejected 60 times and C.S. Lewis received 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing. You could land an agent your first try or you may be another C.S. Lewis. So if you get rejections, don’t take it personally. Send your material to the next one on your list and don’t stop.

While you’re sending out queries (heck, even when you’re writing your first book), build a following. At the same time, work on publishing flash fiction, articles, and poetry to get publishing credentials.

Helpful Links:

And of course, start writing your next book. Maybe your first book won’t make it but the second or third one you write will. If you decide to self-publish, go for it! But research like crazy to know what you’ll need to do to not only self-publish but market your book.

The most important thing to do while you do all of this (editing, submitting, and writing) is to believe that you’ll get published one day. Some of us have our days sooner than others but I believe all of us will eventually have our day. Your belief and determination will be fuel on your journey to publication.

Fuel up and shoot for the stars!


Chrys Fey

Author of Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.

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Stephanie Bird said...

There are bits and pieces of advice for all here. The rejections part especially, gives us all hope. Thanks!

Charity Bradford said...

Great advice! Letting a manuscript sit is so important. When you come back you can see it in a whole new light.

Early in my writing career I got trapped in the critiquing phase. I tried to make EVERYONE happy. It took a while for me to realize that my story was MY story. If someone thought things should have gone different that was fine, but I didn't have to change it just because they suggested it. I had to learn to look at their comments and questions and figure out how it related to the story I wanted to tell. Were they confused because I wasn't clear? Sometimes they just didn't get it, and that's okay. Learning that not everyone will understand your story or like it is huge. You can write for the people that will get it, for yourself, and you'll be happy.

Chrys Fey said...

@Stephanie, thank you! And you're very welcome. :)

@Charity, thanks! You're right. Just because someone critiques your story and offers suggestions on things you should change, doesn't mean you have to change it. Keeping an open mind is good but so is standing beside your original work. We all have to learn that not everyone will like or get our stories.

Liz A. said...

There was one writer that so needed to see this post. Lots of good advice in there.

Chrys Fey said...

Liz, well I hope that one writer will stumble upon it some day. :)