Writers go through similar stages before they finally see their manuscripts between covers, but from what I’ve learned, they usually go through them in exactly the opposite way that they should.
Here’s what I think is typical based on my conversations with other writers and my own beginning as one.
WRITE A STORY
SUBMIT THE MANUSCRIPT FOR PUBLICATION OR SELF-PUBLISH
SET UP BLOG TOURS/BOOKSIGNINGS
BUILD A NETWORK OF FOLLOWERS
If I had it to do again, I’d reverse those steps; at least I’d put “Build a Network” right up there with “Write the Story.” Why? Because once you do publish a book, you’re going to need a lot of people in your corner to help spread the word and bring you chocolates to keep you going. This upside-down plan is important regardless of whether you’re self-published, working with a small press, or working with a large one. The competition in today’s writing/publishing industry is fierce. In 2017 1,000,000 print and eBooks were published in the U.S. alone. How are you going to make any waves in a sea as big as this if you’re all alone?
Besides with a network, you’re not always having to be the one to say, “Look at my book.” The Me. Me. Me. gets pretty old across your social media very quickly.
As a writer of Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction, I’ve found two groups that have helped through a lot of learning curves and into publication. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators showed me the ropes early on. I attended their regional conferences, started meeting other new writers, and connecting with established and savvy ones. When I sold my first novel, I attended the New York Winter Conference and was so motivated to keep writing that I started my second novel in my hotel room during the days I was there. They’ve provided a wealth of knowledge and support that helped me build my network and complete eleven books (eight published so far).
When I first heard about The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I wondered what benefit I’d get from becoming a member. The key word was SUPPORT. While they offered a lot of great information from writing professionals, they also were there when I considered giving up or didn’t have a fresh idea, and they quadrupled my online social media network. Remember, I’d done it all backwards: published, and then started connecting with writers and readers.
These are my thoughts on “If I Had It To Do Again.” What are yours? Do you agree or do you have other ideas about this writing/publishing business?