I have a confession to make. Want to hear it?
Okay, here it is:
I really only write this blog for my personal enjoyment. That anyone else reads it or gains anything from it is nothing but a happy accident.
And this shouldn’t be surprising, if you’ve been following me at all. This is a fun blog, a snarky blog, a blog that hints at deeper truths, but rarely delivers calls to action or condemnation (with some notable exceptions).
And that’s why it’s such an adjustment, to me, to start the next step of the site’s evolution. Because now I am getting serious again about pursuing publication. And that means putting out more posts that are closer to being progress reports than they are to being funny observations about writing or the world at large.
It’s a bit sad, really.
But let’s press forward anyway, and make the first of (hopefully) many progress reports about my road to publication. And let’s co-publish it at Steemit.com, so I can also get paid for the privilege.
Practicing what I Preach
If you follow this blog, you’ll remember that, after finishing a manuscript last summer, I began to post a few articles about the preparations an author needed to make before blazing the trail toward publication. In the interest of accountability, I’d like to report on how I have adhered to my own recommendations.
Let’s tackle them, one by one.
I began my summer dissertation by talking about the formatting guidelines put forth by publishers and agents. In keeping with my own advice, I make sure to research each company’s preferences before I send my stuff to anybody.
And, in a twist that pleases me greatly, I have discovered a few literary agencies that now allow submissions by online forms, instead of by email. This is a boon to everybody involved, as it gives the submitting author clear and convenient fields in which to put their information, their query letter, their synopsis, and their sample pages. On the other end, it gives the agency or publisher the benefit of having all submissions arrive prepackaged according to their specifications, with the option to send a form rejection with a single click of the mouse, if desired.
Honestly, this could be a revolutionary moment for the publishing industry, and I’m glad to see them adopt this technology.
I have done it: I have deleted all my Tweets.
The software I used was Martiani’s Twitter Archive Eraser, which is useful because it can delete all the Tweets you’ve ever made, whereas most Tweet-deleting software can only erase the most recent 3500 of them.
I was worried, for a while, that deleting my thousands of tweets would result in the loss of many followers. This, thankfully, has not materialized.
And I also completely deleted my Goodreads account. As an author, who must work with other authors, publishing ratings of other people’s books is a clear conflict of interest.
I have been doing my research.
Agents come in many flavors, and simply obtaining one is not a worthy goal in and of itself. As such, I have been collecting the names of agents who I feel would be a good fit for me.
And I have been keeping a spreadsheet, to keep track of which agents I’ve found, who they work for, what they’re looking for, and whether I have sent them a submission yet. I will also be keeping track of replies.
I did not rush to submit the manuscript as soon as I finished one book. Instead, I took the time to cleanse my palate. I stepped away from one book and started outlining the next.
And I finished the entire outline (something I had not expected to do). Only after finishing this new effort was I confident enough to begin prepping my manuscript for submission.
You can read more about my works in progress on their dedicated page of my website.
After outlining the next book, my most important preparation for submitting my manuscript has been to start crunching it.
I’m attacking my word count, getting the early chapters nice and clean as I send them out in submission packages (and making sure the later chapters get their attention before I send out full manuscripts).
The going so far has been pretty easy. Crunch drafts, as a general rule, are not as time consuming as regular drafts or complete rewrites.
I am going into this knowing how valuable I am. I am also going into this knowing the value of a good partnership with the people I am submitting to.
I have misgivings, sure, and fears, but I am pressing forward, regardless.
I’m going into this process knowing my rights…and also how much to sell them for.
With an understanding that royalties and cash advances can only take an author so far, I begin my publication journey with the determination to hold on to my audio and foreign rights. I also am devising plans to do my own marketing and get my name in important places.
This is the also the reason why I want to partner with the right agent, as opposed to just any agent.
I’m ashamed to admit how long it has been since the last time I tried to publish a book.
Needless to say, but I have learned a great deal in the time that has passed. Even the best of first-timers often come across as unprofessional in their approach, and I was no exception.
But no only has my craft improved since then, but I have also had time to work on my people skills, especially in professional settings. My confidence and calm is much better this time around, and I am ready to make this a full-time calling.
I am super stoked to get my show on the road, and to be someone who is read. At the beginning of summer, when I began focusing on posts about publication, I had no idea how much those posts were affecting me as a writer. Looking back, it’s amazing how much I already knew, and how much I was able to write about.
How many of these posts did you catch? Were you with me for the whole journey? Did one post in particular stand out? I’d love to hear your comments.
You can look forward to more frequent status updates in the future. My entire digital presence is starting to metamorphose into a more professional front-end. This is a necessary part of my growth, though it pains me to leave certain other parts behind.
Still, it will all be worth it soon enough.
Thanks for traveling with me down this road.
[This week’s tagline: “Where people come…to remember.”]