Believe – Believe in your abilities as a writer
Perfect – Take classes and workshops – read what you write
Network – get involved in writing organizations – online chats
Submit – find the right agent, editor, market
Publish - (for self-Publishing) - this is the stage where you make your work shine
Publish – Now what
Promote – Put you and your work out there
Believe – Believe in your ability to write a poem, tell a story, or depict events. If you don’t believe in yourself no on else is going to believe. Be convincing when you say you are a writer. You may not be published, but if you are writing anything other than grocery and to-do lists, you are a writer. Be it poems, lyrics, essays, short stories, novels( fiction or non-fiction), memoirs, or biographies – you are a writer.
If you are a freelance writer wanting to break into the magazine market, you need to read the magazines you are interested in writing for and learn what style and stories they like. Other freelance writers attend your multi genre events such as the PNWA and WW.
Submit (if going traditional publishing)– Once you believe in your writing, have perfected your craft, and have networked and know where you need to submit your work- you submit. But first you have gone to either the agent or editor’s website or magazine submission guidelines and found out how they like to be queried or you’ve looked this information up in the Writer’s Market place, Writer’s Digest, RWA site, or wherever you have found the information. Remember you put your best foot forward by submitting either a query or partial the way the editor or agent wants it, not the way you want to send it. If they ask only for a query letter, you keep it to the point. What your book is about, who you are, and what qualifies you to write on this subject, and thank them for considering your book or article. If they request a partial or full, send a cover letter, again be brief, what the story is about, why you wrote it or were qualified to write it and again thank them for considering your work. Unless a house says they do not take simultaneous submissions, you may send out to more than one place at a time, but do make sure that somewhere you state it is a simultaneous submission. And if someone does buy it, you follow up with a letter to the other people letting them know it was picked up.
Rejection letters are a given in this business. If you don’t have a tough skin you won’t make it as a writer. I threw away a file this thick a couple years ago and have another one this thick now. Rejection letters can’t be taken to heart. It may be your subject isn’t what they are looking for or they just bought a book or story close to yours. It’s hard to take a photocopied rejection that you know was sent to thousands of other writers, but the one that says, loved it, but- That’s a keeper. That means what I stated earlier. Either they just bought something that was similar or they don’t have slot to fill it with- which is why I like Ebook. They don’t have to worry about shelf space and they will purchase similar books simultaneously.
Publish - (for self-publishing)If you've decided to go the self-publishing route, you need to find a cover designer, have your work read by critique partners or beta readers or both. Have the book edited by an editor or someone you know will do the right job. While the book is with the editor, you need to write a back cover blurb, discover your keywords, decide if you will format for ebook and print or source it out. learn how to upload to the ebook vendors and Createspace or Ingrams. Purchase ISBN number or decide if you want to use the free ones from the vendors. When the book comes back edited and you've made another run or two through it. You will either send it out to be formatted to format it yourself and upload.
Publish – You get the call! The editor loved your book and they want to publish it. If you don’t have an agent to help you through the contract (if it is for a book) you might want to get help from a lawyer who knows literary contracts. If you have sold a short story, or an e-book the contracts are pretty cut and dry and you don’t need any mediator to complete the transaction. With a book, you will get your manuscript back with the editor’s comments, they will give you a certain length of time to get it revised and you will send it back. Then they will send it to you in a galley. This is the last time you get to make any changes. Then it goes to print when it is scheduled. Usually if you are with an e-book/print publisher, the e-book will be out 6 months to a year before the print version.
Magazines can be up to a year or better.
I also purchase or make items to hand out at book signings and to send to conferences when they are looking for promo items for goodie bags to be given away at conferences. I am always on the look out for little things I can tuck into envelopes and send out as prizes. When I do online chats I hold a contest and give away an ebook I’m promoting. You have to have people read your work to build a readership.
Never Forget- Never forget the people and organizations who helped you get where you are. Give back by talking at a meeting, giving a workshop at a conference, and telling others who helped you along your way. Remember those who helped you perfect, network, submit, publish, and promote - you didn’t get there alone.